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connection with a review written for inclusion in magazine or 

1922; MARCH, 1923; MAY, I924; JUNE, I925; MARCH, I926; 
DECEMBER, I926; AUGUST, 1927; APRIL, 1928; OCTOBER, 1928; 
JUNE, 1929; JANUARY, MAY, 1930; APRIL, 1 932 ; JULY, I933; 
JUNE, 1935; DECEMBER, I93S ; OCTOBER, 1936; JUNE, 1937. 
DECEMBER, 1937; JULY, I939 

: Printed in the United States of America : 

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C ! R V ■ • L A r ! • :• N D w P A Ti T' M U T.' T 

CITY OF r;^iy/ YORK 



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How Telemachus the Son of Odysseus Was Moved to Go on 
A Voyage in Search of His Father and How He Heard 



How Odysseus Left Calypso's Island and Came to the Land 
OF THE Phaeacians; How He Told He Fared with the 
CyclCpes and Went Past the Terrible Scylla and Cha- 
RYBDis and Came to the Island of Thrinaqa Where His 
Men Slaughtered the Cattle of the Sun ; How He Was 
Given a Ship by tele Phaeactans and Came to His Own 
Land ; How He Overthrew the Wooers Who Wasted His 
Substance and Came to Reign Again as King of Ithaka . 125 


The Judgement of Paris Frontispiece 


The Fair Helen 30 

Achilles Victorious . 106 

The Princess Threw the Ball 138 

The Sorrowing Odysseus 148 

Circe 170 

The Sirens 176 

Penelope Unravelling the Web 221 











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HIS is the story of Odysseus, the most 
renowned of all the heroes the Greek 
poets have told us of — of Odysseus, his 
wars and his wanderings. And this story 
of Odysseus begins with his son, the 
youth who was called Telemachus. 
It was when Telemachus was a child 
of a month old that a messenger came from Agamemnon, the 
Great King, bidding Odysseus betake himself to the war against 
Troy that the Kings and Princes of Greece were about to wage. 
The wise Odysseus, foreseeing the disasters that would befall 
all that entered that war, was loth to go. And so when Aga- 
memnon's messenger came to the island of Ithaka where he 
was King, Odysseus pretended to be mad. And that the mes- 
senger, Palamedes, might believe he was mad indeed, he did a 
thing that no man ever saw being done before — he took an 
ass and an ox and yoked them together to the same plough 
and began to plough a field. And when he had ploughed a 


furrow he sowed it, not with seeds that would grow, but with 
salt. When Palamedes saw him doing this he was nearly per- 
suaded that Odysseus was mad. But to test him he took the 
child Telemachus and laid him down in the field in the way of 
the plough. Odysseus, when he came near to where the child 
lay, turned the plough aside and thereby showed that he was 
not a mad man. Then had he to take King Agamemnon's sum- 
mons. And Agamemnon's word was that Odysseus should go 
to Aulis where the ships of the Kings and Princes of Greece 
were being gathered. But first he was to go into another 
country to seek the hero Achilles and persuade him also to enter 
the war against Troy. 

And so Odysseus bade good-bye to his infant son, Telemachus, 
and to his young wife, Penelope, and to his father, old Laertes. 
And he bade good-bye to his house and his lands and to the island 
of Ithaka where he was King. He summoned a council of the 
chief men of Ithaka and commended to their care his wife and 
his child and all his household, and thereafter he took his sailors 
and his fighting men with him and he sailed away. The years 
went by and Odysseus did not return. After ten years the City 
was taken by the Kjngs and Princes of Greece and the thread 
of war was wound up. But still Odysseus did not return. And 
now minstrels came to Ithaka with word of the deaths or the 
homecomings of the heroes who had fought in the war against 
Troy. But no minstrel brought any word of Odysseus, of his 
death or of his appearance in any land known to men. Ten 


years more went by. And now that infant son whom he had 
left behind, Telemachus, had grown up and was a young man of 
strength and purpose. 


NE day, as he sat sad and disconsolate in 
the house of his father, the youth Telema- 
chus saw a stranger come to the outer 
gate. There were many in the court out- 
side, but no one went to receive the new- 
comer. Then, because he would never 
let a stranger stand at the gate without 
hurrying out to welcome him, and because, too, he had hopes 
that some day such a one would bring him tidings of his father, 
Telemachus rose up from where he was sitting and went down 
the hall and through the court and to the gate at which the 
stranger stood. 

'Welcome to the house of Odysseus,' said Telemachus giving 
him his hand. The stranger clasped it with a friendly clasp. 
'I thank you, Telemachus,' he said, 'for your welcome, and 
glad I am to enter the house of your father, the renowned 

The stranger looked like one who would be a captain amongst 
soldiers. His eyes were grey and clear and shone wonderfully. 
In his hand he carried a great bronze spear. He and Telemachus 
went together through the court and into the hall. And when 


the stranger left his spear within the spearstand Telemachus 
took him to a high chair and put a footstool under his feet. 

He had brought him to a place in the hall where the crowd 
would not come. There were many in the court outside and 
Telemachus would not have his guest disturbed by questions or 
clamours. A handmaid brought water for the washing of his 
hands, and poured it over them from a golden ewer into a silver 
basin. A polished table was left at his side. Then the house- 
dame brought wheaten bread and many dainties. Other ser- 
vants set down dishes of meat with golden cups, and afterwards 
the maids came into the hall and filled up the cups with wine. 

But the servants who waited on Telemachus and his guest 
were disturbed by the crowd of men who now came into the 
hall. They seated themselves at tables and shouted out their 
orders. Great dishes of meat were brought to them and bowls 
of wine, and the men ate and drank and talked loudly to each 
other and did not refrain even from staring at the stranger who 
sat with Telemachus. 

'Is there a wedding-feast in the house?' the stranger asked, 
' or do the men of your clan meet here to drink with each other ? ' 

A flush of shame came to the face of Telemachus. 'There is 
no wedding-feast here,' he said, 'nor do the men of our clan 
meet here to drink with each other. Listen to me, my guest. 
Because you look so wise and because you seem so friendly to 
my father's name I will tell you who these men are and why 
they trouble this house.' 


[HEREUPON Telemachus told the stranger 
how his father had not returned from the 
war of Troy although it was now ten years 
since the City was taken by those with 
whom he went. 'Alas,' Telemachus said, 
' he must have died on his way back to us, 
and I must think that his bones lie under 
some nameless strait or channel of the ocean. Would he had 
died in the fight at Troy ! Then the Kings and Princes would 
have made him a burial-mound worthy of his name and his 
deeds. His memory would have been reverenced amongst men, 
and I, his son, would have a name, and would not be imposed 
upon by such men as you see here — men who are feasting 
and giving orders in my father's house and wasting the substance 
that he gathered.' 

'How come they to be here?' asked the stranger. 
Telemachus told him about this also. When seven years had 
gone by from the fall of Troy and still Odysseus did not return 
there were those who thought he was dead and would never be 
seen more in the land of Ithaka. Then many of the young lords 
of the land wanted Penelope, Telemachus' mother, to marry one 
of them. They came to the house to woo her for marriage. But 
she, mourning for the absence of Odysseus and ever hoping that 
he would return, would give no answer to them. For three 
years now they were coming to the house of Odysseus to woo 
the wife whom he had left behind him. 'They want to put 


my lady-mother between two dread difficulties,' said Tele- 
machus, 'either to promise to wed one of them or to see the 
substance of our house wasted by them. Here they come and 
eat the bread of our fields, and slay the beasts of our flocks and 
herds, and drink the wine that in the old days my father laid up, 
and weary our servants with their orders.' 

When he had told him all this Telemachus raised his head 
and looked at the stranger: '0 my guest,' he said, 'wisdom 
and power shine out of your eyes. Speak now to me and tell 
me what I should do to save the house of Odysseus from ruin. 
And tell me too if you think it possible that my father should 
still be in Hfe.' 

The stranger looked at him with his grey, clear, wonderfully- 
shining eyes. 'Art thou verily the son of Odysseus?' said 

'Verily, I am the son of Odysseus,' said Telemachus. 

'As I look at you,' said the stranger, 'I mark your head and 
eyes, and I know they are such a head and such eyes as Odysseus 
had. Well, being the son of such a man, and of such a woman 
as the lady Penelope, your spirit surely shall find a way of 
destroying those wooers who would destroy your house.' 

'Already,' said Telemachus, 'your gaze and your speech 
make me feel equal to the task of deaUng with them.' 

'I think,' said the stranger, 'that Odysseus, your father, 
has not perished from the earth. He may yet win home 
through labors and perils. But you should seek for tidings 


of him. Harken to me now and I shall tell you what to 

' To-morrow summon a council of all the chief men of the land 
of Ithaka, and stand up in that council and declare that the time 
has come for the wooers who waste your substance to scatter, 
each man to his own home. And after the council has been 
held I would have you voyage to find out tidings of your father, 
whether he still lives and where he might be. Go to Pylos first, 
to the home of Nestor, that old King who was with your father 
in the war of Troy. Beg Nestor to give you whatever tidings 
he has of Odysseus. And from Pylos go to Sparta, to the home 
of Menelaus and Helen, and beg tidings of your father from them 
too. And if you get news of his being alive, return : It will be 
easy for you then to endure for another year the wasting of your 
substance by those wooers. But if you learn that your father, 
the renowned Odysseus, is indeed dead and gone, then come 
back, and in your own country raise a great funeral mound to 
his memory, and over it pay all funeral rites. Then let your 
mother choose a good man to be her husband and let her marry 
him, knowing for a certainty that Odysseus will never come back 
to his own house. After that something will remain for you to 
do: You will have to punish those wooers who destroy the 
goods your father gathered and who insult his house by their 
presence. And when all these things have been done, you, 
Telemachus, will be free to seek out your own fortune : you will 
rise to fame, for I mark that you are handsome and strong and 



most likely to be a wise and valiant man. But now I must fare 
on my journey.' 

The stranger rose up from where he sat and went with Tele- 
machus from the hall and through the court and to the outer 
gate. Telemachus said: 'What you have told me I shall not 
forget. I know you have spoken out of a wise and a friendly 
heart, and as a father to his son.' 

The stranger clasped his hands and went through the gate. 
And then, as he looked after him Telemachus saw the stranger 
change in his form. He became first as a woman, tall, with fair 
hair and a spear of bronze in her hand. And then the form of a 
woman changed too. It changed into a great sea-eagle that on 
wide wings rose up and flew high through the air. Telemachus 
knew then that his visitor was an immortal and no other than the 
goddess Athene who had been his father's friend. 


HEN Telemachus went back to the hall 
those who were feasting there had put the 
wine-cups from them and were calling out 
for Phemius, the minstrel, to come and 
sing some tale to deUght them. And as 
he went amongst them one of the wooers 
said to another, 'The guest who was with 
him has told Telemachus something that has changed his bear- 


ing. Never before did I see him hold himself so proudly. 
Mayhap he has spoken to him of the return of his father, the 
renowned Odysseus.' 

Phemius came and the wooers called upon him to sing 
them a tale. And the minstrel, in flowing verse, began the 
tale of the return of the Kings and Princes from Troy, and of 
how some god or goddess put a trouble upon them as they left 
the City they had taken. And as the minstrel began the tale, 
Penelope, Telemachus' lady-mother, was coming down the 
stairs with two hand-maids beside her. She heard the 
words he sang, and she stood still in her grief and drew 
her veil across her face. 'O Phemius,' she cried, 'cease from 
that story that ever wastes my heart — the story that has 
brought me sorrow and that leaves me comfortless all my 
days ! O Phemius, do you not know other tales of men 
and gods that you might sing in this hall for the dehght of 
my noble wooers?' 

The minstrel would have ceased when Penelope spoke thus to 
him, but Telemachus went to the stairway where his lady-mother 
stood, and addressed her. 

'My lady-mother,' said he, 'why should you not let the 
minstrel dehght the company with such songs as the spirit 
moves him to give us ? It is no blame to him if he sings of that 
which is sorrowful to us. As for you, my mother, you must 
learn to endure that story, for long will it be sung and far and 
wide. And you are not the only one who is bereaved — many 


another man besides Odysseus lost the happy day of his home- 
coming in the war of Troy.' 

Penelope, his lady-mother, looked in surprise at the youth who 
spoke to her so wisely. Was this indeed Telemachus who before 
had hardly lifted his head ? And as she looked at him again she 
saw that he carried his head — that head of his that was so like 
Odysseus' — high and proudly. She saw that her son was now 
indeed a man. Penelope spoke no word to him, for a new thought 
had come into her mind. She turned round on the stairs and 
went back with her hand-maids to the chamber where her loom 
and her distaff were. And as she went up the stairway and 
away from them her wooers muttered one to the other that she 
would soon have to choose one of them for her husband. 

Telemachus turned to those who were standing at the tables 
and addressed them. 'Wooers of my mother,' he said, 'I have 
a word to say to you.' 

'By the gods, youth,' said one of the wooers, 'you must tell 
us first who he is who has made you so high and proud of speech.' 

'Surely,' said another, 'he who has done that is the stranger 
who was with him. Who is he? Why did he come here, and 
of what land has he declared himself to be ? ' 

'Why did he not stay so that we might look at him and speak 
to him ? ' said another of the wooers. 

'These are the words I would say to you. Let us feast now 
in peace, without any brawling amongst us, and Hsten to the tale 
that the minstrel sings to us,' said Telemachus. ' But to-morrow 


let us have a council made up of the chief men of this land of 
Ithaka. I shall go to the council and speak there. I shall ask 
that you leave this house of mine and feast on goods that you 
yourselves have gathered. Let the chief men judge whether I 
speak in fairness to you or not. If you do not heed what I will 
say openly at the council, before all the chief men of our land, 
then let it be on your own heads what will befall you.' 

All the wooers marvelled that Telemachus spoke so boldly. 
And one said, 'Because his father, Odysseus, was king, this youth 
thinks he should be king by inheritance. But may Zeus, the god, 
never grant that he be king.' 

Then said Telemachus, 'If the god Zeus should grant that I be 
King, I am ready to take up the Kingship of the land of Ithaka 
with all its toils and all its dangers.' And when Telemachus said 
that he looked like a young king indeed. 

But they sat in peace and listened to what the minstrel sang. 
And when evening came the wooers left the hall and went each 
to his own house. Telemachus rose and went to his chamber. 
Before him there went an ancient woman who had nursed him 
as a child — Eurycleia was her name. She carried burning 
torches to light his way. And when they were in his chamber 
Telemachus took off his soft doublet and put it in Eurycleia's 
hands, and she smoothed it out and hung it on the pin at his bed- 
side. Then she went out and she closed the door behind with 
its handle of silver and she pulled the thong that bolted the door 
on the other side. And all night long Telemachus lay wrapped 



in his fleece of wool and thought on what he would say at the 
council next day, and on the goddess Athene and what she had 
put into his heart to do, and on the journey that was before him 
to Nestor in Pylos and to Menelaus and Helen in Sparta. 


S soon as it was dawn Telemachus rose 
from his bed. He put on his raiment, 
bound his sandals on his feet, hung his 
sharp sword across his shoulder, and took 
in his hand a spear of bronze. Then he 
went forth to where the Council was 
being held in the open air, and two swift 
hounds went beside him. 

The chief men of the land of Ithaka had been gathered al- 
ready for the council. When it was plain that all were there, the 
man who was oldest amongst them, the lord ^gyptus, rose up 
and spoke. He had sons, and two of them were with him yet, 
tending his fields. But one, Eurynomous by name, kept com- 
pany with the wooers of Telemachus' mother. And ^Egyptus 
had had another son ; he had gone in Odysseus' ship to the war 
of Troy, and iEgyptus knew he had perished on his way back. 
He constantly mourned for this son, and thinking upon him as he 
spoke, iEgyptus had tears in his eyes. 

'Never since Odysseus summoned us together before he took 


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ship for the war of Troy have we met in council,' said he. 
*Why have we been brought together now? Has someone 
heard tidings of the return of Odysseus? If it be so, may the 
god Zeus give luck to him who tells us of such good fortune.' 

Telemachus was glad because of the kindly speech of the old 
man. He rose up to speak and the herald put a staff into his 
hands as a sign that he was to be listened to with reverence. 
Telemachus then spoke, addressing the old lord ^Egyptus. 

'I will tell you who it is,' he said, 'who has called the men of 
Ithaka together in council, and for what purpose. Revered lord 
iEgyptus, I have called you together, but not because I have had 
tidings of the return of my father, the renowned Odysseus, nor 
because I would speak to you about some affair of our country. 
No. I would speak to you all because I suffer and because I am 
at a loss — I, whose father was King over you, praised by you 
all. Odysseus is long away from Ithaka, and I deem that he will 
never return. You have lost your King. But you can put 
another King to rule over you. I have lost my father, and I 
can have no other father in all my days. And that is not all my 
loss, as I will show you now, men of Ithaka. 

' For three years now my mother has been beset by men who 
come to woo her to be wife for one of them. Day after day 
they come to our house and kill and devour our beasts and 
waste the wine that was laid up against my father's return. 
They waste our goods and our wealth. If I were nearer man^ 
hood I would defend my house against them. But as yet I 


am not able to do it, and so I have to stand by and see our 
house and substance being destroyed.' 

So Telemachus spoke, and when his speech was ended Antinous, 
who was one of the wooers, rose up. 

'Telemachus,' said he, 'why do you try to put us to shame 
in this way ? I tell all here that it is not we but your mother who 
is to blame. We, knowing her husband Odysseus is no longer in 
life, have asked her to become the wife of one of us. She gives 
us no honest answer. Instead she has given her mind to a 
device to keep us still waiting. 

'I will tell you of the council what this device is. The lady 
Penelope set up a great loom in her house and began to weave 
9, wide web of cloth. To each of us she sent a message saying that 
when the web she was working at was woven, she would choose 
a husband from amongst us. ''Laertes, the father of Odysseus, 
is alone with none to care for him living or dead," said she to us. 
"I must weave a shroud for him against the time which cannot 
now be far off when old Laertes dies. Trouble me not while I do 
this. For if he should die and there be no winding-sheet to wrap 
him round all the women of the land would blame me greatly." 

'We were not oppressive and we left the lady Penelope to 
weave the web, and the months have gone by and still the web 
is not woven. But even now we have heard from one of her 
maids how Penelope tries to finish her task. What she weaves 
in the daytime she unravels at night. Never, then, can the web 
be finished and so does she try to cheat us. 


'She has gained praise from the people for doing this. ''How 
wise is Penelope," they say, "with her devices." Let her be 
satisfied with their praise then, and leave us alone. We too 
have our devices. We will live at her house and eat and drink 
there and give orders to her servants and we shall see which will 
satisfy her best — to give an answer or to let the wealth of her 
house be wasted. 

' As for you, Telemachus, I have these words to say to you. 
Lead your mother from your father's house and to the house of 
her father, Icarius. Tell Icarius to give her in marriage to the 
one she chooses from amongst us. Do this and no more goods 
will be wasted in the house that will be yours.' 

Then Telemachus rose and said, ' Never will I lead my mother 
out of a house that my father brought her into. Quit my father's 
house, or, as I tell you now, the day may come when a doom will 
fall upon you there for your insolence in it.' 

And even as Telemachus spoke, two eagles from a mountain 
crest flew over the place where the council was being held. 
They wheeled above and flapped their wings and looked down 
upon the crowd with destruction in their gaze. They tore each 
other with their talons, and then flew away across the City. 

An old man who was there, Halitherses by name, a man skilled 
in the signs made by birds, told those who were around what was 
foreshown by the combat of the eagles in the air. ' Odysseus,' 
he said, 'is not far from his friends. He will return, and his 
return will mean affliction for those who insult his house. Now 


let them make an end of their mischief.' But the wooers only 
laughed at the old man, telUng him he should go home and 
prophesy to his children. 

Then arose another old man whose name was Mentor, and he 
was one who had been a friend and companion of Odysseus. 
He spoke to the council saying : 

'Never again need a King be gentle in his heart. For kind 
md gentle to you all was your King, Odysseus. And now his 
son asks you for help and you do not hurry to give it him. It 
is not so much an afiiiction to me that these wooers waste his 
goods as that you do not rise up to forbid it. But let them per- 
sist in doing it on the hazard of their own heads. For a doom 
will come on them, I say. And I say again to you of the council : 
you are many and the wooers are few : Why then do you not 
put them away from the house of Odysseus ? ' 

But no one in the council took the side of Telemachus and 
Hahtherses and Mentor — so powerful were the wooers and so 
fearful of them were the men of the council. The wooers looked 
at Telemachus and his friends with mockery. Then for the last 
time Telemachus rose up and spoke to the council. 

'I have spoken in the council, and the men of Ithaka know, 
and the gods know, the rights and wrongs of my case. All I ask 
of you now is that you give me a swift ship with twenty youths 
to be my crew so that I may go to Pylos and to Sparta to seek 
tidings of my father. If I find he is alive and that he is returning, 
then I can endure to wait another year in the house and submit 
to what you do there.* 



Even at this speech they mocked. Said one of them, Leocri- 
tus by name, 'Though Odysseus be alive and should one day 
come into his own hall, that would not affright us. He is one, 
and we are many, and if he should strive with those who out- 
number him, why then, let his doom be on his own head. And 
now, men of the council, scatter yourselves and go each to his 
own home, and let Mentor and Halitherses help Telemachus to 
get a ship and a crew.' 

Leocritus said that knowing that Mentor and HaUtherses were 
old and had few friends, and that they could do nothing to help 
Telemachus to get a ship. The council broke up and those who 
were in it scattered. But the wooers went together back to the 
house of Odysseus. 

|ELEMACHUS went apart, and, going by 
himself, came to the shore of the sea. He 
dipped his hands into the sea-water and 
prayed, saying, 'O Goddess Athene, you 
who did come to my father's hall yester- 
day, I have tried to do as you bade me. 
But still the wooers of my mother hinder 

me from taking ship to seek tidings of my father.' 

He spoke in prayer and then he saw one who had the likeness 

of the old man Mentor coming towards him. But by the grey, 

clear, wonderfully-shining eyes he knew that the figure was none 

other than the goddess Athene. 


*Telemachus,' said she, 'if you have indeed one drop of your 
father's blood in you or one portion of his spirit, if you are as he 
was — one ready to fulfil both word and work, your voyage shall 
not be in vain. If you are different from what he was, I have no 
hope that you will accomphsh your desire. But I have seen in 
you something of the wisdom and the courage of Odysseus. 
Hear my counsel then, and do as I direct you. Go back to your 
father's house and be with the wooers for a time. And get 
together corn and barley-flour and wine in jars. And while 
you are doing all this I will gather together a crew for your 
ship. There are many ships in sea-girt Ithaka and I shall choose 
the best for you and we will rig her quickly and launch her on 
the wide deep.' 

When Telemachus heard her counsel he tarried no more but 
went back to the house and stood amongst the wooers, and 
when he had spoken with them he went down into the treasure- 
vault. It was a spacious room filled with gold and bronze and 
chests of raiment and casks of wine. The doors of that vault 
were closed night and day and Eurycleia, the dame who had 
been the nurse of Telemachus when he was little, guarded the 
place. She came to him, and he spoke to her : 

'My nurse,' said he, 'none but yourself must know what 
I would do now, and you must swear not to speak of it to my 
lady-mother until twelve days from this. Fill twelve jars with 
wine for me now, and pour twelve measures of barley-meal into 
well-sewn skins. Leave them all together for me^ and when my 


mother goes into the upper chamber, I shall have them carried 
away. Lo, nurse, I go to Pylos and to Sparta to seek tidings 
from Nestor and Menelaus of Odysseus, my father.' 

When she heard him say this, the nurse Eurycleia lamented. 
*Ah, wherefore, dear child,' she cried, 'has such a thought 
risen in your mind? How could you fare over wide seas and 
through strange lands, you who were never from your home? 
Stay here where you are well beloved. As for your father, he 
has long since perished amongst strangers — why should you 
put yourself in danger to find out that he is no more ? Nay, 
do not go, Telemachus, my fosterHng, but stay in your own 
house and in your own well-beloved country.' 

Telemachus said : 'Dear nurse, it has been shown to me that 
I should go by a goddess. Is not that enough for you and for 
me ? Now make all ready for me as I have asked you, and swear 
to me that you will say nothing of it to my mother until twelve 
days from this, or until she shall miss me herself.' 

Having sworn as he asked her, the nurse Eurycleia drew the 
mne into jars and put the barley-meal into the well-sewn skins. 
Telemachus left the vault and went back again into the hall. 
He sat with the wooers and listened to the minstrel Phemius 
sing about the going forth of Odysseus to the wars of Troy. 

And while these things were happening the goddess Athene 
went through the town in the likeness of Telemachus. She 
went to this youth and that youth and told them of the voyage 
and asked them to make ready and go down to the beach where 


the boat would be. And then she went to a man called Noemon, 
and begged him for a swift ship, and Noemon gave it her. 

When the sun sank and when the ways were darkened Athene 
dragged the ship to where it should be launched and brought 
the tackling to it. The youths whom Athene had summoned — ■ 
they were all of the age of Telemachus — came, and Athene 
aroused them with talk of the voyage. And when the ship was 
ready she went to the house of Odysseus. Upon the wooers 
who were still in the hall she caused sleep to fall. They laid 
their heads upon the tables and slumbered beside the wine cups. 
But Athene sent a whisper through the hall and Telemachus 
heard and he rose up and came to where she stood. Now she 
had on the likeness of old Mentor, the friend of his father Odys- 

'Come,' said she, 'your friends are already at the oars. We 
must not delay them.' 

But some of the youths had come with the one whom they 
thought was old Mentor. They carried with Telemachus the 
skins of corn and the casks of wine. They came to the ship, and 
Telemachus with a cheer climbed into it. Then the youths 
loosed the ropes and sat down at the benches to pull the oars. 
And Athene, in the Hkeness of old Mentor, sat at the helm. 

And now they set up the mast of pine and they made it fast 
with forestays, and they hauled up the sails with ropes of twisted 
oxhide. And a wind came and filled out the sails, and the 
youths pulled at the oars, and the ship dashed away. All night 







^/ Jii 








long Telemachus and his friends sat at the oars and under the 
sails, and felt the ship bearing them swiftly onward through the 
dark water. Phemius, the minstrel, was with them, and, as 
the night went by, he sang to them of Troy and of the heroes 
who had waged war against it. 


ROY, the minstrel sang, was the greatest of 
the Cities of men ; it had been built when 
the demi-gods walked the earth ; its walls 
were so strong and so high that enemies 
could not break nor scale them; Troy 
had high towers and great gates; in its 
citadels there were strong men well armed, 
and in its treasuries there were stores of gold and silver. And 
the King of Troy was Priam. He was old now, but he had 
sons that were good Captains. The chief of them all was 

Hector, the minstrel sang, was a match for any warrior the 
nations could send against Troy. Because he was noble and 
generous as well as brave, the people were devoted to him. And 
Hector, Priam's son, was commander in the City. 

But Priam had another son who was not counted amongst the 
Captains. Paris was his name. Now when Paris was in his 
infancy, a soothsayer told King Priam that he would bring trouble 
upon Troy. Then King Priam had the child sent away from the 


City. Paris was reared amongst country people, and when he 
was a youth he herded sheep. 

Then the minstrel sang of Peleus, the King of Phthia, and of 
his marriage to the river nymph, Thetis. All the gods and god- 
desses came to their wedding feast. Only one of the immortals 
was not invited — Eris, who is Discord. She came, however. 
At the games that followed the wedding feast she threw a golden 
apple amongst the guests, and on the apple was written ''For 
the fairest." 

Each of the three goddesses who was there wished to be known 
as the fairest and each claimed the golden apple — Aphrodite 
who inspired love ; Athene who gave wisdom ; and Hera who 
was the wife of Zeus, the greatest of the gods. But no one at 
the wedding would judge between the goddesses and say which 
was the fairest. And then the shepherd Paris came by, and him 
the guests asked to give judgment. 

Said Hera to Paris, 'Award the apple to me and I will give you 
a great kingship.' Said Athene, 'Award the golden apple to me 
and I will make you the wisest of men.' And Aphrodite came 
to him and whispered, 'Paris, dear Paris, let me be called the 
fairest and I will make you beautiful, and the fairest woman in 
the world will be your wife.' Paris looked on Aphrodite and in 
his eyes she was the fairest. To her he gave the golden apple 
and ever afterwards she was his friend. But Hera and Athene 
departed from the company in wrath. 


The minstrel sang how Paris went back to his father's City and 
was made a prince of Troy. Through the favor of Aphrodite he 
was the most beautiful of youths. Then Paris went out of the 
City again. Sent by his father he went to Tyre. And coming 
back to Troy from Tyre he went through Greece. 

Now the fairest woman in the world was in Greece; she was 
Helen, and she was married to King Menelaus. Paris saw her 
and loved her for her beauty. And Aphrodite inspired Helen 
to fall in love with Paris. He stole her from the house of Mene- 
laus and brought her into Troy. 

King Menelaus sent to Troy and demanded that his wife be 
given back to him. But the people of Troy, thinking no King 
in the world could shake them, and wanting to boast that the 
fairest woman in the world was in their city, were not willing 
that Menelaus be given back his wife. Priam and his son, 
Hector, knew that a wrong had been done, and knew that Helen 
and all that she had brought with her should be given back. 
But in the council there were vain men who went against the 
word of Priam and Hector, declaring that for no httle King of 
Greece would they give up Helen, the fairest woman in all the 

Then the minstrel sang of Agamemnon. He was King of 
rich Mycenae, and his name was so high and his deeds were so 
renowned that all the Kings of Greece looked to him. Now 
Agamemnon, seeing Menelaus. his brother, flouted by the Trojans, 


vowed to injure Troy. And he spoke to the Kings and Princes 
of Greece, saying that if they all united their strength they 
would be able to take the great city of Troy and avenge 
the slight put upon Menelaus and win great glory and riches 
for themselves. 

And when they had come together and had taken note of their 
strength, the Kings and Princes of Greece thought well of the 
word of Agamemnon and were eager to make war upon Troy. 
They bound themselves by a vow to take the City. Then 
Agamemnon sent messages to the heroes whose lands were far 
away, to Odysseus, and to Achilles, who was the son of Peleus 
and Thetis, bidding them also enter the war. 

In two years the ships of all the Kings and Princes were 
gathered into Aulis and the Greeks, with their leaders, Aga- 
memnon, Aias, Diomedes, Nestor, Idomeneus, Achilles and 
Odysseus, sailed for the coast of Troy. One hero after another 
subdued the cities and nations that were the allies of the Tro- 
jans, but Troy they did not take. And the minstrel sang to 
Telemachus and his fellow-voyagers how year after year went 
by, and how the host of Greeks still remained between their ships 
and the walls of the City, and how in the ninth year there came 
a plague that smote with death more men than the Trojans killed. 

So the ship went on through the dark water, very swiftly, 
with the goddess Athene, in the likeness of old Mentor, guiding 
it, and with the youths listening to the song that Phemius the 
minstrel sang. 




HE sun rose and Telemachus and his 
fellow-voyagers drew near to the shore of 
Pylos and to the steep citadel built by 
Neleus, the father of Nestor, the famous 
King. They saw on the shore men in 
companies making sacrifice to Poseidon, 
the dark-haired god of the sea. There 
were nine companies there and each company had nine black 
oxen for the sacrifice, and the number of men in each com- 
pany was five hundred. They slew the oxen and they laid 
parts to burn on the altars of the god, and the men sat down 
to feast. 

The voyagers brought their ship to the shore and Telemachus 
sprang from it. But before him went the goddess, grey-eyed 
Athene, in the Hkeness of the old man, Mentor. And the goddess 
told Telemachus that Nestor, the King whom he had come to 
seek, was on the shore. She bade him now go forward with a 
good heart and ask Nestor for tidings of his father, Odysseus. 

But Telemachus said to her, ' Mentor, how can I bring myself 
to speak to one who is so reverenced ? How should I greet him ? 
And how can I, a young man, question such a one as Nestor, 
the old King?' 

The goddess, grey-eyed Athene, encouraged him; the right 
words, she said, would come. So Telemachus went forward with 


his divine companion. Nestor was seated on the shore with 
his sons around him. And when they saw the two strangers 
approach, the sons of Nestor rose up to greet them. One, 
Peisistratus, took the hand of Telemachus and the hand of the 
goddess and led them both to where Nestor was. 

A golden cup was put into the hand of each and wine was 
poured into the cups, and Nestor's son, Peisistratus, asked Tele- 
machus and the goddess to pray that the sacrifice they were 
making to Poseidon, the god of the sea, would bring good to them 
and to their people. Then the goddess Athene in the likeness 
of old Mentor held the cup in her hand and prayed : 

' Hear me, Poseidon, shaker of the earth : First to Nestor 
and his sons grant renown. Then grant to the people of Pylos 
recompense for the sacrifice of oxen they have made. Grant, 
too, that Telemachus and I may return safely when what we 
have come in our swift ship to seek has been won.' 

Telemachus prayed in the words of the goddess and then the 
sons of Nestor made them both sit on the fleeces that were spread 
on the shore. And dishes of meat were brought to them and 
cups of wine, and when they had eaten and drunk, the old King, 
Nestor, spoke to them. 

'Until they have partaken of food and drink, it is not cour- 
teous,' he said, 'to ask of strangers who they are and whither 
they go. But now, my guests, I will ask of you what your land 
is, and what your quest, and what names you bear.' 

Then Telemachus said: 'Nestor, renowned King, glory of 


the Greeks, we have come out of Ithaka and we seek tidings of 
my father, of Odysseus, who, long ago, fought by your side in the 
war of Troy. With you, men say, he sacked the great City of 
the Trojans. But no further story about him has been told. 
And I have come to your knees, O King, to beg you to give me 
tidings of him — whether he died and you saw his death, or 
whether you heard of his death from another. And if you 
should answer me, speak not, I pray you, in pity for me, but tell 
me all you know or have heard. Ah, if ever my father helped 
you in the land of the Trojans, by the memory of what help he 
gave, I pray you speak in truth to me, his son.' 

Then said Nestor, the old King, 'Verily, my son, you bring 
sorrow to my mind. Ah, where are they who were with me in 
our war against the mighty City of Troy? Where is Aias and 
Achilles and Patroklos and my own dear son, Antilochos, who 
was so noble and so strong? And where is Agamemnon now? 
He returned to his own land, to be killed in his own hall by a 
most treacherous foeman. And now you ask me of Odysseus, 
the man who was dearer to me than any of the others — Odysseus, 
who was always of the one mind with me ! Never did we two 
speak diversely in the assembly nor m the council. 

' You say to me that you are the son of Odysseus ! Surely you 
are. Amazement comes over me as I look on you and listen to 
you, for you look as he looked and you speak as he spoke. But 
I would have you speak further to me and tell me of your home- 
land and of how things fare in Ithaka.' 



|HEN he told the old King of the evil deeds 
worked by the wooers of his mother, and 
when he had told of them Telemachus 
cried out, 'Oh, that the gods would give 
me such strength that I might take 
vengeance on them for their many trans- 

Then said old Nestor, 'Who knows but Odysseus will win 
home and requite the violence of these suitors and the insults 
they have offered to your house. The goddess Athene might 
bring this to pass. Well was she incHned to your father, and 
never did the gods show such favour to a mortal as the grey-eyed 
goddess showed to Odysseus, your father.' 

But Telemachus answered, 'In no wise can your word be 
accompHshed, King.' 

Then Athene, in the likeness of old Mentor, spoke to him and 
said, 'What word has crossed your lips, Telemachus? If it 
should please them, any one of the gods could bring a man home 
from afar. Only this the gods may not do — avert death from 
a man who has been doomed to it.' 

Telemachus answered her and said, 'Mentor, no longer let 
us talk of these things. Nestor, the renowned King, has been 
very gracious to me, but he has nothing to tell me of my father. 
I deem now that Odysseus will never return.' 

' Go to Menelaus,' said Nestor. ' Go to Menelaus in Sparta. 
Lately he has come from a far and a strange coimtry and it may 


be that he has heard of Odysseus in his wanderings. You can 
go to Sparta in your ship. But if you have a mind to fare by 
land then will I give you a chariot and horses, and my son will go 
with you to be a guide for you into Sparta.' 

Then Telemachus, with Athene, the grey-eyed goddess in the 
Hkeness of old Mentor, would have gone back to their ship, but 
Nestor the King said, 'Zeus forbid that you two should go 
back to the ship to take your rest while there is guest- 
room in my hall. Come with me to a place where you can lie 
softly. Never shall it be said that a son of Odysseus, my dear 
friend, lay on the hard deck of a ship while I am ahve and 
while children of mine are left in my hall. Come with me now.' 

Then the goddess Athene in the likeness of old Mentor said, 
'You have spoken as becomes you, renowned King. Telem- 
achus should harken to your word and go with you. But it 
is meet that the young men who came for the love of him should 
have an elder with them on the ship to-night. I shall abide 
with them.' 

So speaking, the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, in the likeness of 
old Mentor went from the shore, and Telemachus went with 
Nestor and his sons to the high citadel of Neleus. And there he 
was given a bath, and the maiden Polycaste, the youngest daugh- 
ter of King Nestor, attended him. She gave him new raiment 
to wear, a goodly mantle and doublet. He slept in a room with 
Peisistratus, the youngest of Nestor's sons. 

In the morning they feasted and did sacrifice, and when he had 



given judgments to the people, the old King Nestor spoke to his 
sons, — 

'Lo, now, my sons. Yoke for Telemachus the horses to the 
chariot that he may go on his way to Sparta.' 

The sons of Nestor gave heed and they yoked the swift horses 
to the chariot and the housedame came from the hall and placed 
within the chariot wine and dainties. Telemachus went into 
the chariot and Peisistratus sat before him. Then Peisistratus 
touched the horses with the whip and they sprang forward, and 
the chariot went swiftly over the plain. Soon they left behind 
them the steep citadel of Neleus and the land of Pylos. And when 
the sun sank and the ways were darkened, they came to Pherae 
and to the house of Diodes and there they rested for the night. 

In the morning as soon as the sun rose they yoked the horses 
and they mounted the chariot, and for another day they journeyed 
across the plain. They had gone far and the ways were again 
darkened around them. 


EY came to Sparta, to a country lying 
low amongst the hills, and they stayed 
the chariot outside the gate of the King's 
dwelling. Now upon that day Menelaus 
was sending his daughter into Phthia, 
with horses and chariots, as a bride for 
Achilles' son. And for Megapenthes, his 


own son, a bride was being brought into the house. Because 
of these two marriages there was feasting in the palace and 
kinsmen and neighbours were gathered there. A minstrel was 
singing to the guests and two tumblers were whirHng round the 
high hall to divert them. 

To the King in his high hall came Eteoneus, the steward. 
'Renowned Menelaus,' said Eteoneus, Hhere are two strangers 
outside, men with the looks of heroes. What would you have me 
do with them ? Shall I have their horses unyoked, bidding them 
enter the Palace, or shall I let them fare on to another dweUing?' 

'Why do you ask such a question, Eteoneus?' said Menelaus 
in anger. 'Have we not eaten the bread of other men on our 
wanderings, and have we not rested ourselves in other men's 
houses? Knowing this you have no right to ask whether you 
should bid strangers enter or let them go past the gate of my 
dwelling. Go now and bid them enter and feast with us.' 

Then Eteoneus went from the hall, and while he had servants 
unyoke the horses from their chariot he led Telemachus and 
Peisistratus into the palace. First they were brought to the 
bath, and when they had come from the bath refreshed, they were 
given new cloaks and mantles. When they had dressed them- 
selves they were led into the King's high hall. They seated 
themselves there, and a maid brought water in a golden ewer 
and poured it over their hands into a silver basin. Then a 
poHshed table was put beside them, and the housedame placed 
bread and meat and wine upon it so that they might eat. 


Menelaus came to where they sat and said to Telemachus 
and Peisistratus, 'By your looks I know you to be of the line 
of Kings. Eat now, and when you have refreshed yourselves I 
will ask who you are and from what place you come.' 

But before they had finished their meal, and while yet Mene- 
laus the king was showing them the treasures that were near, the 
lady Helen came into the high hall — Helen for whom the Kings 
and Princes of Greece had gone to war. Her maids were with 
her, and they set a chair for her near where Menelaus was and 
they put a rug of soft wool under her feet. Then one brought 
to her a silver basket filled with colored yarn. And Helen sat 
in her high chair and took the distaff in her hands and worked 
the yarn. She questioned Menelaus about the things that 
had happened during the day, and as she did she watched 

Then the lady Helen left the distaff down and said, 'Menelaus, 
I am minded to tell you who one of these strangers is. No one 
was ever more like another than this youth is like great-hearted 
Odysseus. I know that he is no other than Telemachus, whom 
Odysseus left as a child, when, for my sake, the Greeks began 
their war against Troy.' 

Then said Menelaus, 'I too mark his hkeness to Odysseus. 
The shape of his head, the glance of his eye, remind me of Odys- 
seus. But can it indeed be that Telemachus has come into my 

'Renowned Menelaus,' said Peisistratus, 'this is indeed the 


son of Odysseus. And I avow myself to be the son of another 
comrade of yours, of Nestor, who was with you at the war of 
Troy. I have been sent with Telemachus to be his guide to 
your house.' 

Menelaus rose up and clasped the hand of Telemachus. 
'Never did there come to my house,' said he, 'a youth more 
welcome. For my sake did Odysseus endure much toil and many 
adventures. Had he come to my country I would have given 
him a city to rule over, and I think that nothing would have 
parted us, one from the other. But Odysseus, I know, has not 
returned to his own land of Ithaka.' 

Then Telemachus, thinking upon his father, dead, or wander- 
ing through the world, wept. Helen, too, shed tears, remember- 
ing things that had happened. And Menelaus, thinking upon 
Odysseus and on all his toils, was silent and sad ; and sad and 
silent too was Peisistratus, thinking upon Antilochos, his brother, 
who had perished in the war of Troy. 

But Helen, wishing to turn their minds to other thoughts, 
cast into the wine a drug that lulled pain and brought forget- 
fulness — a drug which had been given to her in Egypt by Poly- 
damna, the wife of King Theon. And when they had drunk the 
wine their sorrowful memories went from them, and they spoke 
to each other without regretfulness. Thereafter King Mene- 
laus told of his adventure with the Ancient One of the Sea 
— the adventure that had brought to him the last tidings of 




AID Menelaus, 'Over against the river 
that flows out of Egypt there is an Island 
that men call Pharos, and to that island 
I came with my ships when we, the heroes 
who had fought at Troy, were separated 
one from the other. There I was held, 
day after day, by the will of the gods. 
Our provision of corn was spent and my men were in danger 
of perishing of hunger. Then one day while my companions 
were striving desperately to get fish out of the sea, I met on the 
shore one who had pity for our plight. 

'She was an immortal, Eidothee, a daughter of the Ancient 
One of the Sea. I craved of her to tell me how we might get 
away from that place, and she counselled me to take by an 
ambush her father, the Ancient One of the Sea, who is also called 
Proteus. ''You can make him tell you," said she, "for he knows 
all things, what you must do to get away from this island of 
Pharos. Moreover, he can declare to you what happened to 
the heroes you have been separated from, and what has taken 
place in your own hall." 

'Then said I to that kind nymph Eidothee, "Show me how 
I may take by an ambush your immortal father, the Ancient 
One of the Sea."' 

'Said Eidothee, "My father, Proteus, comes out of the sea 


when the sun is highest in the heavens. Then would he lie down 
to sleep in the caves that are along the shore. But before he 
goes to sleep he counts, as a shepherd counts his flock, the seals 
that come up out of the ocean and lie round where he Hes. If 
there be one too many, or one less than there should be, he will 
not go to sleep in the cave. But I will show you how you and 
certain of your companions may be near without the Ancient 
One of the Sea being aware of your presence. Take three of 
your men — ■ the three you trust above all the others — and 
as soon as it is dawn to-morrow meet me by the edge of 
the sea.'*' 

^So saying the nymph Eidothee plunged into the sea and I 
went from that place anxious, but with hope in my heart. 

'Now as soon as the dawn had come I walked by the sea- 
shore and with me came the three that I trusted above all my 
companions. The daughter of the Ancient One of the Sea, 
Eidothee, came to us. In her arms she had the skins of seals 
newly-slain, one for each of us. And at the cave where the 
seals lay she scooped holes in the sand and bade us He there, 
covering ourselves with the skins. Then she spoke to me and 

' '^ When my father, the Ancient One of the Sea, comes here to 
sleep, lay hands upon him and hold him with all the strength you 
have. He will change himself into many shapes, but do not you 
let go your hold upon him. When he changes back into the 
shape he had at first you may let go your holds. Question him 


then as to how you may leave this place, or question him as to 
any other matter that may be on your mind, and he will answer 
you, speaking the truth." * 

'We lay down in the holes she had scooped in the sand and 
she covered each of us with one of the skins she had brought. 
Then the seals came out of the sea and lay all around us. The 
smell that came from those beasts of the sea afflicted us, and it 
was then that our adventure became terrible. We could not 
have endured it if Eidothee had not helped us in this also. She 
took ambrosia and set it beneath each man's nostril, so that what 
came to us was not the smell of the sea-beasts but a divine savour. 
Then the nymph went back to the sea. 

'We lay there with steadfast hearts amongst the herd of seals 
until the sun was at its highest in the heavens. The Ancient 
One of the Sea came out of the ocean depths. He went amongst 
the seals and counted them, and us four men he reckoned amongst 
his herd. Then in great contentment he laid himself down to 

' We rushed upon him with a cry and laid hold on him with all 
the strength of our hands. But we had no sooner grasped him 
than his shape changed. He became a hon and faced us. Yet 
we did not let go of our grasp. He became a serpent, yet we 
still held him. He became a leopard and then a mighty boar; 
he became a stream of water and then a flowering tree. Yet 
still we held to him with all our might and our hearts were 
not daunted by the shapes he changed to before our eyes, 


Then, seeing that he could not make us loose our hold, the 
Ancient One of the Sea, who was called Proteus, ceased in his 
changes and became as we had seen him first. 

'"Son of Atreus," said he, speaking to me, ''who was it 
showed you how to lay this ambush for me?" * 

' "It is for you who know all things," said I, "to make answer 
to us. Tell me now why it is that I am held on this island? 
Which of the gods holds me here and for what reason?" * 

'Then the Ancient One of the Sea answered me, speaking 
truth, "Zeus, the greatest of all the gods holds you here. You 
neglected to make sacrifice to the gods and for that reason you 
are held on this island." 

' "Then," said I, "what must I do to win back the favor of 
the gods?"' 

'He told me, speaking truth, "Before setting sail for your 
own land," he said, "you must return to the river Mgyptus that 
flows out of Africa, and offer sacrifice there to the gods." ' 

'When he said this my spirit was broken with grief. A long 
and a grievous way would I have to sail to make that sacrifice, 
turning back from my own land. Yet the will of the gods would 
have to be done. Again I was moved to question the Ancient 
One of the Sea, and to ask him for tidings of the men who were 
my companions in the wars of Troy. 

'Ah, son of Odysseus, more broken than ever was my spirit 
with grief when he told me of their fates. Then I heard how 
my brother, great Agamemnon, reached his own land and was 


glad in his heart. But his wife had hatred for him, and in his 
own hall she and iEgisthus had him slain. I sat and wept on 
the sands, but still I questioned the Ancient One of the Sea. And 
he told me of strong Aias and how he was killed by the falling 
rock after he had boasted that Poseidon, the god of the Sea, 
could afflict him no more. And of your father, the renowned 
Odysseus, the Ancient One had a tale to tell. 

'Then, and even now it may be, Odysseus was on an island 
away from all mankind. ''There he abides in the hall of the 
nymph Calypso," the Ancient One of the Sea told me. "I saw 
him shed great tears because he could not go from that place. 
But he has no ship and no companions and the nymph Calypso 
holds him there. And always he longs to return to his own 
country, to the land of Ithaka." And after he had spoken to 
me of Odysseus, he went from us and plunged into the sea. 

'Thereafter I went back to the river ^gyptus and moored 
my ships and made pious sacrifice to the gods. A fair wind came 
to us and we set out for our own country. Swiftly we came to it, 
and now you see me the happiest of all those who set out to wage 
war against Troy. And now, dear son of Odysseus, you know 
what an immortal told of your father — ■ how he is still in life, 
but how he is held from returning to his own home.' 

Thus from Menelaus the youth Telemachus got tiding of his 
father. When the King ceased to speak they went from the hall 
with torches in their hands and came to the vestibule where 
Helen's handmaids had prepared beds for Telemachus and 



Peisistratus. And as he lay there under purple blankets and 
soft coverlets, the son of Odysseus thought upon his father, still 
in life, but held in that unknown island by the nymph Calypso. 


IS ship and his fellow-voyagers waited at 
Pylos but for a while longer Telemachus 
bided in Sparta, for he would fain hear 
from Menelaus and from Helen the 
tale of Troy. Many days he stayed, 
and on the first day Menelaus told him 
of Achilles, the greatest of the heroes who 
had fought against Troy, and on another day the lady Helen 
told him of Hector, the noblest of all the men who defended 
King Priam's City. 

* Achilles,' said King Menelaus, ' was sprung of a race that w^as 
favoured by the immortals. Peleus, the father of Achilles, had 
for his friend, Cheiron, the wisest of the Centaurs — of those im- 
mortals who are half men and half horse. Cheiron it was who 
gave to Peleus his great spear. And when Peleus desired to wed 
an immortal, Zeus, the greatest of the gods, prevailed upon the 
nymph Thetis to marry him, although marriage with a mortal was 
against her will. To the wedding of Thetis and Peleus all the 
gods came. And for wedding gifts Zeus gave such armour as 
no mortal had ever worn before — armour wonderfully bright 
and wonderfully strong, and he gave also two immortal horses. 


' Achilles was the child of Thetis and Peleus — of an immortal 
woman married to a mortal hero. He grew up most strong and 
fleet of foot. When he was grown to be a youth he was sent to 
Cheiron, and his father's friend instructed him in all the ways of 
war. He became the greatest of spearmen, and on the mountain 
with the Centaur he gained in strength and in fleetness of foot. 

' Now after he returned to his father's hall the war against Troy 
began to be prepared for. Agamemnon, the king, wanted Achil- 
les to join the host. But Thetis, knowing that great disasters 
w^ould befall those who went to that war, feared for Achilles. 
She resolved to hide him so that no word from King Agamemnon 
might reach him. And how did the nymph Thetis hide her son? 
She sent him to King Lycomedes and prayed the King to hide 
Achilles amongst his daughters. 

' So the youth Achilles was dressed as a maiden and stayed 
with, the daughters of the King. The messengers of Agamemnon 
searched everywhere for him. Many of them came to the court 
of King Lycomedes, but not finding one like Achilles amongst 
the King's sons they went away. 

' Odysseus, by Agamemnon's order, came to seek Achilles. 
He knew that the youth was not amongst the King's sons. He 
saw the King's daughters in their father's orchard, but could 
not tell if Achilles was amongst them, for all were veiled and 
dressed alike. 

* Then Ody iseus went away and returned as a peddler carrying 
in his pack such things as maidens admire — veils and orna- 


ments and brazen mirrors. But under the veils and ornaments 
and mirrors the wise Odysseus left a gleaming sword. When 
he came before the maidens in the King's orchard he laid down 
his peddler's pack. The mirrors and veils and ornaments were 
taken up and examined eagerly. But one of the company took 
up the gleaming sword and looked at it with flashing eyes. 
Odysseus knew that this was Achilles, King Peleus' son. 

' He gave the youth the summons of King Agamemnon, bidding 
him join the war that the Kings and Princes of Greece were 
about to wage against Troy. And Achilles was glad to get the 
summons and glad to go. He returned to Phthia, to his father's 
citadel. There did he make ready to go to AuHs where the ships 
were being gathered. He took with him his father's famous 
warriors, the Myrmidons who were never beaten in battle. And 
his father bestowed on him the armour and the horses that had 
been the gift of Zeus — the two immortal horses Xanthos and 

' But what rejoiced Achilles more than the gift of marvellous 
armour and immortal steeds was that his dear comrade, Patro- 
klos, was to be with him as his mate in war. Patroklos had come 
into Phthia and into the hall of Peleus when he was a young boy. 
In his own country he had killed another boy by mischance over 
a game of dice. His father, to save him from the penalty, fled 
with him to King Peleus. And Achilles' father gave them refuge 
and took Patroklos into his house and reared him up with his 
own son. Later he made him squire to Achilles. These two 



grew up together and more than brothers they loved fcach 

' Achilles bade good-bye to Phthia, and to his hero-father and 
his immortal mother, and he and Patroklos with the Myrmidons 
went over the sea to AuHs and joined the host of the Kings and 
Princes who had made a vow not to refrain from war until they 
had taken King Priam's famous city.' 


CHILLES became the most renowned of 
all the heroes who strove against Troy in 
the years the fighting went on. Before the 
sight of him, clad in the flashing armour 
that was the gift of Zeus and standing in 
the chariot drawn by the immortal horses, 
the Trojan ranks would break and the 

Trojan men would flee back to the gate of their city. And 

many lesser cities and towns around Troy did the host with the 

help of Achifles take. 

' Now because of two maidens taken captive from some of 

these cities a quarrel between Achilles and Agamemnon grew up. 

One of the maidens was called Chryseis and the other Briseis. 

Chryseis was given to Agamemnon and Briseis to Achilles. 
* The father of Chryseis was a priest of ApoUo, and when the 

maiden, his daughter, was not given back to him, he went and 

prayed the god to avenge him on the host. ApoUo Hstened to 


his prayer, and straightway the god left his mountain peak with 
his bow of silver in his hands. He stood behind the ships and 
shot his arrows into the host. Terrible was the clanging of his 
silver bow. He smote the beasts of the camp first, the dogs and 
the mules and the horses, and then he smote the men, and those 
whom his arrows smote were stricken by the plague. 

' The warriors began to die, and every day more perished by 
the plague than were killed by the spears and swords and arrows 
of the Trojans. Now a council was summoned and the chiefs 
debated what was to be done to save the host. At the coun- 
cil there was a soothsayer named Kalchas; he stood up and 
declared that he knew the cause of the plague, and he knew too 
how the remainder of the host might be saved from it. 

' It was because of the anger of Apollo, Kalchas said ; and that 
anger could only be averted by Agamemnon sending back to his 
father, the priest of Apollo, the maiden Chryseis. 

'Then was Agamemnon wroth exceedingly. "Thou seer of 
things evil," said he to Kalchas, "never didst thou see aught of 
good for me or mine. The maiden given to me, Chryseis, I 
greatly prize. Yet rather than my folk should perish I shall let 
her be taken from me. But this let you all of the council know : 
some other prize must be given to me that the whole host may 
know that Agamemnon is not slighted." ' 

'Then said Achilles: "Agamemnon, of all Kings you are the 
most covetous. The best of us toil and battle that you may 
come and take what part of the spoil may please you. Be 


covetous no more. Let this maiden go back to her father and 
afterwards we will give you some other prize." ' 

* Said Agamemnon : ''The council here must bind itself to 
give me recompense." ' 

'''Still you speak of recompense, Agamemnon," answered 
Achilles. "No one gains more than you gain. I had no quarrel 
with the men of Troy, and yet I have come here, and my hands 
bear the brunt of the war." ' 

'"You who are captains must give me a recompense," said 
Agamemnon, "or else I shall go to the tent of Achilles and take 
away the maiden given to him, Briseis of the Fair Cheeks." ' 

' "I am wearied of making war for you," answered Achilles. 
" Though I am always in the strife but httle of the spoil comes 
to my tent. Now will I depart to my own land, to Phthia, for 
I am not minded to stay here and be dishonoured by you, O 
King." ' 

' " Go," said Agamemnon, "if your soul be set upon fleeing, go. 
But do not think that there are not captains and heroes here 
who can make war without you. Go and lord it amongst your 
Myrmidons. Never shall we seek your aid. And that all may 
know I am greater than you, Achilles, I shall go to your tent and 
take away the maiden Briseis." ' 

' When he heard Agamemnon's speech the heart within Achilles' 
breast was divided, and he knew not whether he should remain 
still and silent in his anger, or, thrusting the council aside, go up 
to Agamemnon and slay him with the sword. His hand was upon 


the sword-hilt when an inunortal appeared to him — the goddess 
Athene. No one in the company but Achilles was aware of her 
presence. ''Draw not the sword upon Agamemnon," she said, 
^' for equally dear to the gods are you both." Then Achilles drew 
back and thrust his heavy sword into its sheath again. But 
although he held his hand he did not refrain from angry and 
bitter words. He threw down on the ground the staff that had 
been put into his hands as a sign that he was to be listened to in 
the council. ''By this staff that no more shall bear leaf or 
blossom," he said, "I swear that longing for Achilles' aid shall 
come upon the host of Agamemnon, but that no Achilles shall 
come to their help. I swear that I shall let Hector triumph 
over you." ' 

' Then the council broke up and Achilles with Patroklos, his 
dear comrade, went back to their tent. A ship was launched 
and the maiden Chryseis was put aboard and Odysseus was 
placed in command. The ship set out for Chryse. There on 
the beach they found the priest of Apollo, and Odysseus 
placed his daughter in the old man's arms. They made sac- 
rifice to Apollo, and thereafter the plague was averted from the 

' But to Achilles' tent there came the messengers of the King, 
and they took Briseis of the Fair Cheeks and led her away. 
Achilles, in bitter anger, sat by the sea, hard in his resolve not to 
help Agamemnon's men, no matter what defeat great Hector 
inflicted upon them.' 



"SRUCH was the quarrel, dear son, between 
Agamemnon, King of men, and great 
Achilles. Ah, because of that quarrel 
many brave men and great captains 
whom I remember went down to their 
deaths ! ' 

' But Agamemnon before long relented 
and he sent three envoys to make friendship between himself 
and Achilles. The envoys were Odysseus and Aias and the old 
man Phoinix who had been a foster-father to Achilles. Now 
when these three went into his hut they found Achilles sitting 
with a lyre in his hands, singing to the music he made. His song 
was of what Thetis, his goddess-mother, had told him concerning 
his own fate — how, if he remained in the war against Troy, 
he should win for himself imperishable renown but would soon 
lose his life, and how, if he left the war, his years in his own land 
should be long, although no great renown would be his. Patro- 
klos, his dear friend, listened to what Achilles sang. And 
Achilles sang of what royal state would be his if he gave up 
the war against the Trojans and went back to his father's halls 
— old Peleus would welcome him, and he would seek a bride 
for him from amongst the loveliest of the Greek maidens. ''In 
three days," he sang, ''can Poseidon, God of the Sea, bring me 
to my own land and to my father's royal castle." ' 


* "Well dost thou sing, Achilles," said Odysseus to him, "and 
pleasant would it be to hear thy song if our hearts were not filled 
up with great griefs. But have not nine years passed away since 
we came here to make war on Troy ? And now are not our ships' 
timbers rotted and their tacklings loosed, and do not many of our 
warriors think in their hearts how their wives and children have 
long been waiting for their return? And still the walls of Troy 
rise up before us as high and as unconquerable as ever ! No 
wonder our hearts are filled up with griefs. And now Achilles 
the greatest of our heroes, and the Myrmidons, the best of our 
warriors, have left us and gone out of the fight." ' 

' "Even to-day did great Hector turn back our battalions that 
were led by Agamemnon and Aias and Diomedes, driving us to 
the wall that we have built around our ships. Behind that wall 
we halted and called one to the other to find out who had escaped 
and who had fallen in the onslaught Hector made. Only when 
he had driven us behind our wall did Hector turn back his chariot 
and draw off his men." * 

UT Hector has not gone through the gates 
of the City. Look now, Achilles ! His 
chariots remain on the plain. Lo now, 
his watch-fires ! A thousand fires thou 
canst see and beside each sits fifty war- 
riors with their horses loose beside their 
chariots champing barley. Eagerly they 
wait for the light of the dawn when they will come against us 


again, hoping this time to overthrow the wall we have builded, 
and come to our ships and burn them with fire, and so destroy 
all hope of our return. " ' 

' ''We are all stricken with grief and fear. Even Agamemnon 
weeps. We have seen him standing before us like unto a dark 
fountain breaking from some beetling cliff. How else could he 
but weep tears ? To-morrow it may be he shall have to bid the 
host draw the ships to the water and depart from the coast of 
Troy. Then will his name forever be dishonoured because of 
defeat and the loss of so many warriors." ' 

* ''Deem'st thou I grieve for Agamemnon's griefs, Odysseus? " 
said Achilles. '' But although thou dost speak of Agamemnon 
thou art welcome, thou and thy companions. Even in my 
wrath you three are dear to me." ' 

' He brought them within the hut and bade a feast be pre- 
pared for them. To Odysseus, Aias and Phoinix wine cups were 
handed. And when they had feasted and drunk wine, Odysseus 
turned to where Achilles sat on his bench in the light of the fire, 
and said : 

' ''Know, Achilles, that we three are here as envoys from King 
Agamemnon. He would make a friendship with thee again. He 
has injured and he has offended thee, but all that a man can do he 
will do to make amends. The maiden Briseis he will let go back. 
Many gifts will he give thee too, Achilles. He will give thee 
seven tripods, and twenty cauldrons, and ten talents of gold. 
Yes, and besides, twelve royal horses, each one of which has 


triumphed in some race. He who possesses these horses will 
never lack for wealth as long as prizes are to be won by swiftness. 
And harken to what more Agamemnon bade us say to thee. If 
we win Troy he will let thee load your ship with spoil of the city 
— with gold and bronze and precious stuffs. And thereafter, 
if we win to our homes he will treat thee as his own royal son and 
will give thee seven cities to rule over. And if thou wilt wed 
there are three daughters in his hall — three of the fairest maidens 
of the Greeks — and the one thou wilt choose he will give thee 
for thy wife, Chrysothemis, or Laodike, or Iphianassa." ' 

' So Odysseus spoke and then Aias said, ''Think, Achilles, and 
abandon now thy wrath. If Agamemnon be hateful to thee 
and if thou despiseth his gifts, think upon thy friends and thy 
companions and have pity upon them. Even for our sakes, 
Achilles, arise now and go into battle and stay the onslaught of 
the terrible Hector." ' 

' Achilles did not answer. His lion's eyes were fixed upon 
those who had spoken and his look did not change at all for all 
that was said.' 

' Then the old man Phoinix who had nurtured him went over 
to him. He could not speak, for tears had burst from him. 
But at last, holding Achilles' hands, he said : 

^ "In thy father's house did I not rear thee to greatness — even 
thee, most noble Achilles. With me and with none other 
wouldst thou go into the feasthall, and, as a child, thou would'st 
stay at my knee and eat the morsel I gave, and drink from the 



cup that I put to thy Ups. I reared thee, and I suffered and 
toiled much that thou mightst have strength and skill and 
quickness. Be thou merciful in thy heart, Achilles. Be not 
wrathful any more. Cast aside thine anger now and save the 
host. Come now. The gifts Agamemnon would give thee are 
very great, and no king nor prince could despise them. But if 
without gifts thou would'st enter the battle, then above all 
heroes the host would honour thee." ' 

' Achilles answered Phoinix gently and said, ''The honour the 
host would bestow upon me I have no need of, for I am honoured in 
the judgment of Zeus, the greatest of the gods, and while breath 
remains with me that honour cannot pass away. But do thou, 
Phoinix, stay with me, and many things I shall bestow upon thee, 
even the half of my kingdom. Ah, but urge me not to help 
Agamemnon, for if thou dost I shall look upon thee as a friend 
to Agamemnon, and I shall hate thee, my foster-father, as I hate 
him." ' 

|HEN to Odysseus, Achilles spoke and said, 
"Son of Laertes, wisest of men, harken 
now to what I shall say to thee. Here 
I should have stayed and won that imper- 
ishable renown that my goddess-mother 
told me of, even at the cost of my young 
life if Agamemnon had not aroused the 
wrath that now possesses me. Know that my soul is im- 
placable towards him. How often did I watch out sleepless 


nights, how often did I spend my days in bloody battle for 
the sake of Agamemnon's and his brother's cause ! Why are 
we here if not because of lovely Helen? And yet one whom 
I cherished as Menelaus cherished Helen has been taken from 
me by order of this King ! He would let her go her way now ! 
But no, I do not desire to see Briseis ever again, for everything 
that comes from Agamemnon's hand is hateful to me. Hateful 
are all the gifts he would bestow upon me, and him and his 
treasures I hold at a straw's worth. I have chosen. To- 
morrow I shall have my Myrmidons draw my ships out to the 
sea, and I shall depart from Troy for my own land." ' 

' Said Aias, ''Have the gods, Achilles, put into your breast a 
spirit implacable and proud above all men's spirits? " ' 

' ''Yea, Aias," said Achilles. "My spirit cannot contain my 
wrath. Agamemnon has treated me, not as a leader of armies 
who won many battles for him, but as a vile sojourner in his 
camp. Go now and declare my will to him. Never again shall 
I take thought of his war." ' 

' So he spoke, and each man took up a two-handled cup and 
poured out wine as an offering to the gods. Then Odysseus 
and Aias in sadness left the hut. But Phoinix remained, and 
for him Patroklos, the dear friend of Achilles, spread a couch 
of fleeces and rugs.' 

' Odysseus and Aias went along the shore of the sea and by the 
line of the ships and they came to where Agamemnon was with 
the greatest of the warriors of the host. Odysseus told them 



that by no means would Achilles joinvin the battle, and they all 
were made silent with grief. Then Diomedes, the great horse- 
man, rose up and said, ''Let Achilles stay or go, fight or not 
fight, as it pleases him. But it is for us who have made a vow 
to take Priam's city, to fight on. Let us take food and rest now, 
and to-morrow let us go agaiQst Hector's host, and you, Aga- 
memnon, take the foremost place in the battle." ' 

' So Diomedes spoke and the warriors applauded what he said, 
and they all poured out libations of wine to the gods, and there- 
after they went to their huts and slept. But for Agamemnon, 
the King, there was no sleep that night. Before his eyes was 
the blaze of Hector's thousand watch-fires and in his ears were 
the sound of pipes and flutes that made war-music for the Trojan 
host encamped upon the plain.' 


HEN dawn came the King arrayed himself 
for the battle, putting on his great breast- 
plate and his helmet that had a high 
plume of horse-hair ; fastening about his 
legs greaves fitted with ankle-clasps of 
silver; and hanging round his shoulders 
a great sword that shone with studs of 
gold — a sword that had a silver scabbard fitted with golden 
chains. Over his shoulders he cast a great lion's skin, and he 
took upon his arm a shield that covered the whole of a man. 


Next he took in his hands two strong spears of bronze, and so 
arrayed and so armed he was ready to take the foremost place 
in the battle.' 

' He cried aloud and bade the Greeks arm themselves, and 
straightway they did so and poured from behind the wall that 
guarded their ships into the Trojan plain. Then the chiefs 
mounted their chariots, and their charioteers turned the horses 
towards the place of battle.' 

' Now on the high ground before them the Trojans had gathered 
in their battahons and the figure of great Hector was plain to 
Agamemnon and his men. Like a star that now and then was 
hidden by a cloud, so he appeared as he went through the battal- 
ions, all covered with shining bronze. Spears and arrows fell 
upon both sides. Footmen kept slaying footmen and horsemen 
kept slaying horsemen with the sword, and the dust of the plain 
rose up, stirred by the thundering hooves of the horses. From 
dawn till morning and from morning till noon the battle raged, 
but at mid-day the Greeks broke through the Trojan lines. 
Then Agamemnon in his chariot rushed through a gap in the 
line. Two men did he instantly slay, and dashing onward he 
slew two warriors who were sons of King Priam. Like fire 
falling upon a wood and burning up the underwood went King 
Agamemnon through the Trojan ranks, and when he passed 
many strong-necked horses rattled empty chariots, leaving on 
the earth the slain warriors that had been in them. And through 
the press of men and up to the high walls of Troy did Agamem- 


non go, slaying Trojan warriors with his spear. Hector did not 
go nigh him, for the gods had warned Hector not to lead any 
onslaught until Agamemnon had turned back from battle.' 

' But a Trojan warrior smote King Agamemnon on the mid- 
arm, below the elbow, and the point of his spear went clean 
through. Still he went through the ranks of the Trojans, slay- 
ing with spear and sword. And then the blood dried upon 
his wound and a sharp pain came upon him and he cried out, 
"O friends and captains! It is not possible for me to war for 
ever against the Trojans, but do you fight on to keep the battle 
from our ships." His charioteer turned his horses, and they, 
all covered with foam and grimed with dust, dashed back across 
the plain bearing the wounded King from that day's battle.' 

' Then Hector sprang to the onslaught. Leaping into his 
chariot he led the Trojans on. Nine captains of the Greeks he 
slew in the first onset. Now their ranks would have been broken, 
and the Greeks would have fled back to their ships if Odysseus 
had not been on that wing of the battle with Diomedes, the great 
horseman. Odysseus cried out, 'Xome hither, Diomedes, or 
verily Hector will sweep us across the plain and bring the battle 
down to our ships." ' 

' Then these two forced themselves through the press of battle 
and held back the onset of Hector till the Greeks had their 
chance to rally. Hector spied them and swept in his chariot 
towards them. Diomedes lifted his great spear and flung it full 
at Hector. The bronze of the spear struck the bronze of his 


helmet, and bronze by bronze was turned. The blow told upon 
Hector. But he, springing from his chariot, stayed amongst 
the press of warriors, resting himself on his hands and knees. 
Darkness was before his eyes for a while, but he got breath again, 
and leaping back into his chariot drove away from that danger- 
ous place.' 

' Then Diomedes himself received a bitterer wound, for Paris> 
sheltering himself behind a pillar on the plain, let fly an arrow 
at him. It went clean through his right foot. Odysseus put 
his shield before his friend and comrade, and Diomedes was able 
to draw the arrow from his flesh. But Diomedes was fain to get 
back into his chariot and to command his charioteer to drive 
from the battle.' 

' Now Odysseus was the only one of the captains who stayed 
on that side of the battle, and the ranks of the Trojans came on 
and hemmed him round. One warrior struck at the centre of 
his shield and through the shield the strong Trojan spear passed 
and wounded the flesh of Odysseus. He slew the warrior who 
had wounded him and he drew the spear from his flesh, but he 
had to give ground. But loudly as any man ever cried, Odysseus 
cried out to the other captains. And strong Aias heard him and 
drew near, bearing his famous shield that was like a tower. The 
Trojan warriors that were round him drew back at the coming 
of Aias and Odysseus went from the press of battle, and mounting 
his chariot drove away.' 

* Where Aias fought the Trojans gave way, and on that side of 


the battle they were being driven back towards the City. But 
suddenly upon Aias there fell an unaccountable dread. He cast 
behind him his great shield, and he stood in a maze, hke a wild 
bull, turning this way and that, and slowly retreating before 
those who pressed towards him. But now and again his valour 
would come back and he would stand steadily and, with his 
great shield, hold at bay the Trojans who were pressing towards 
the ships. Arrows fell thick upon his shield, confusing his mind. 
And Aias might have perished beneath the arrows if his comrades 
had not drawn him to where they stood with shields sloping for 
a shelter, and so saved him.' 

' All this time Hector was fighting on the left wing of the battle 
against the Greeks, who were led by Nestor and Idomeneus. 
And on this side Paris let fly an arrow that brought trouble 
to the enemies of his father's City. He struck Machaon who 
was the most skilled healer of wounds in the whole of the host. 
And those who were around Machaon were fearful that the 
Trojans would seize the stricken man and bear him away. Then 
said Idomeneus, ''Nestor, arise. Get Machaon into your chariot 
and drive swiftly from the press of battle. A healer such as he 
is worth the lives of many men. Save him alive so that we 
may still have him to draw the arrows from our flesh and put 
medicaments into our wounds." Then did Nestor Hft the 
healer into his chariot, and the charioteer turned the horses 
and they too drove from the press of battle and towards the 
hollow ships.' 




CHILLES, standing by the stern of his 
great ship, saw the battle as it went this 
way and that way, but his heart was not 
at all moved with pity for the destruction 
wrought upon the Greeks. He saw the 
chariot of Nestor go dashing by, dragged 
by sweating horses, and he knew that a 
wounded man was in the chariot. When it had passed he 
spoke to his dear friend Patroklos. 

' "Go now, Patroklos," he said, '' and ask of Nestor who it is 
that he has borne away from the battle." ' 

*''I go, Achilles," Patroklos said, and even as he spoke he 
started to run along the line of the ships and to the hut of Nestor.' 
' He stood before the door, and when old Nestor beheld him he 
bade him enter. "Achilles sent me to you, revered Nestor," 
said Patroklos, " to ask who it was you bore out of the battle 
wounded. But I need not ask, for I see that it is none other 
than Machaon, the best of our healers." ' 

'"Why should Achilles concern himself with those who are 
wounded in the fight with Hector?" said old Nestor. "He 
does not care at all what evils befall the Greeks. But thou, 
Patroklos, wilt be grieved to know that Diomedes and Odysseus 
have been wounded, and that sore- wounded is Machaon whom 
thou seest here. Ah, but Achilles will have cause to lament 


when the host perishes beside our burning ships and when Hector 
triumphs over all the Greeks." ' 

' Then the old man rose up and taking Patroklos by the hand 
led him within the hut, and brought him to a bench beside which 
lay Machaon, the wounded man.' 

'"'Patroklos," said Nestor, "speak thou to Achilles. Nay, 
but thy father bade thee spake words of counsel to thy friend. 
Did he not say to thee 'turn Achilles from harsh courses by 
gentle words'? Remember now the words of thy father, 
Patroklos, and if ever thou did'st speak to Achilles with gentle 
wisdom speak to him now. Who knows but thy words might 
stir up his spirit to take part in the battle we have to fight with 

**'Nay, nay, old man," said Patroklos, "I may not speak to 
Achilles to ask for such a thing." ' 

|HEN," said Nestor, ''do thou thyself 
enter the war and bring Achilles' Myr- 
midons with thee. Then might we who 
are wearied with fighting take breath. 
And beg of Achilles to give you his 
armour that you may wear it in the 
battle. If thou would'st appear clad in 
Achilles' bronze the Trojans would think that he had entered 
the war again and they would not force the fight upon us." ' 

' What old Nestor said seemed good to Patroklos and he left 
the hut and went back along the ships. And on his way he met 


Eurypylos, a sorely wounded man, dragging himself from the 
battle, and Patroklos helped him back to his hut and cheered 
him with discourse and laid heahng herbs upon his wounds.' 

^ And even as he left old Nestor's hut, Hector was before the 
wall the Greeks had builded to guard their ships. On came the 
Trojans against that wall, holding their shields of bulls' hides 
before them. From the towers that were along the wall the 
Greeks flung great stones upon the attackers.' 

' Over the host an eagle flew, holding in its talons a blood-red 
serpent. The serpent struggled with the eagle and the eagle 
with the serpent, and both had sorely wounded each other. 
But as they flew over the host of Greeks and Trojans the serpent 
struck at the eagle with his fangs, and the eagle, wounded in the 
breast, dropped the serpent. Then were the Trojans in dread, 
seeing the blood-red serpent across their path, for they thought 
it was an omen from Zeus. They would have turned back from 
the wall in fear for this omen had not Hector pressed them on. 
''One omen is best, I know," he cried, ''to fight a good fight for 
our country. Forward then and bring the battle to those ships 
that came to our coast against the will of the gods." ' 

' So Hector spoke. Then he hfted up a stone — • such a stone 
as not two of the best of men now hving could as much as raise 
from the ground — and he flung this stone full at the strongly- 
set gate. It broke the hinges and the bars, and the great 
gate fell under the weight of the tremendous stone. Then 
Hector leaped across it with two spears in his hands. No 


warrior could withstand him now. And as the Trojans scaled 
the walls and poured across the broken gate, the Greeks fled to 
their ships in terror and dismay.' 

' Patroklos saw the gate go down and the Trojans pour towards 
the ships in a mass that was hke a great rock rolling down a 
cHff. Idomeneus and Aias led the Greeks who fought to hold 
them back. Hector cast a spear at Aias and struck him where 
the belt of his shield and the belt of his sword crossed. Aias 
was not wounded by the stroke. Then Aias cast at Hector a 
great stone that was used to prop a ship. He struck him on the 
breast, just over the rim of his shield. Under the weight of that 
blow great Hector spun round Hke a top. The spear fell from 
his hands and the bronze of his shield and helmet rang as he fell 
on the ground.' 

' Then the Greeks dashed up to where Hector lay, hoping to 
drag him amongst them. But his comrades placed their shields 
around him and drove back the warriors that were pressing 
round. They Hfted Hector into his chariot, and his charioteer 
drove him from the place of battle groaning heavily from the 
hurt of that terrible blow.' 

' Now the Greeks rallied and came on Tvath a shout, driving the 
Trojans back before them. The swift horses under Hector's 
chariot brought him out on the plain. They who were with 
him Hfted him out, and Hector lay gasping for breath and with 
black blood gushing from him. And then as he lay there 
stricken he heard the voice of a god — even of Apollo — saying, 



"Hector, son of Priam, why dost thou He fainting, apart from 
the host? Dost thou not know that the battle is desperate? 
Take up thy spirit again. Bid thy charioteer drive thee towards 
the ships of the Greeks." ' 

* Then Hector rose and went amongst the ranks of his men and 
roused up their spirits and led them back to the wall. And 
when the Greeks saw Hector in fighting trim again, going up 
and down the ranks of his men, they were affrighted.' 

' He mounted his chariot and he shouted to the others, and the 
Trojan charioteers lashed their horses and they came on like a 
great wave. They crossed the broken wall again and came near 
the ships. Then many of the Greeks got into their ships and 
struck at those who came near with long pikes.' 

' And all around the ships companies of Greek warriors stood 
like rocks that the sea breaks against in vain. Nestor cried out 
to the Greeks, bidding them fight like heroes, or else lose in the 
burning ships all hope of return to their native land. Aias, a 
long pike in his hand, drove multitudes of Trojans back, while, 
in a loud voice, he put courage into the Greeks. Hector fought 
his way forward crying to the Trojans to bring fire to the ships 
that had come to their coast against the wall of the gods.' 

' He came to the first of the ships and laid his hand upon its 
stern. Many fought against him there. Swords and spears 
and armour fell on the ground, some from the hands, some off 
the shoulders of warring men, and the black earth was red with 
blood. But Hector was not driven away from the ship. And 


he shouted "Bring fire that we may bum the ships that have 
brought the enemy to our land. The woes we have suffered 
were because of the cowardice of the elders of the City — they 
would not let me bring my warriors here and bring battle down 
to the ships when first they came to our beach. Do not let us 
return to the City until we have burned the ships with fire." ' 

^ But whoever brought fire near the ship was stricken by strong 
Aias who stood there with a long pike in his hands. Now all 
this time Patroklos sat in the hut of Eurypylos, the wounded 
man he had succoured, cheering him with discourse and laying 
healing herbs on his wounds. But when he saw fire being brought 
to the ships he rose up and said, *'Eur3^ylos, no longer may I 
stay here although great is your need of attendance. I must 
get aid for our warriors." Straightway he ran from the hut and 
came to where Achilles was.' 

"'If thy heart, Achilles," he said, "is still hard against the 
Greeks, and if thou wilt not come to their aid, let me go into the 
fight and let me take with me thy company of Myrmidons. 
And O Achilles, grant me another thing. Let me wear thine 
armour and thy helmet so that the Trojans will believe for a 
while that Achilles has come back into the battle. Then would 
they flee before me and our warriors would be given a breathing- 
tune." ' 

' Said Achilles, "I have declared that I shall not cease from my 
wrath until the Trojans come to my own ships. But thou, 
Patroklos, dear friend, may'st go into the battle. All thou hast 


asked shall be freely given to thee — my M3mnidons to lead and 
my armour to wear, and even my chariot and my immortal 
horses. Drive the Trojans from the ships. But when thou 
hast driven them from the ships, return to this hut. Do not go 
near the City. Return, I bid thee, Patroklos, when the Trojans 
are no longer around the ships, and leave it to others to battle 
on the plain." ' 

' Then Patroklos put on the armour that Zeus had given to 
Achilles' father, Peleus. Round his shoulders he cast the sword 
of bronze with its studs of silver, and upon his head he put the 
helmet with its high horse-hair crest — the terrible helmet of 
Achilles. Then Achilles bade the charioteer yoke the horses to 
the chariot — 'the horses, Xanthos and BaHos, that were also gifts 
from the gods. And while all this was being done Achilles went 
amongst the Myrmidons, making them ready for the battle and 
bidding them remember all the threats they had uttered against 
the Trojans in the time when they had been kept from the 

* Then he went back to his hut and opening the chest that his 
mother, Thetis, had given him he took from it a four-handled 
cup — • a cup that no one drank out of but Achilles himself. Then 
pouring wine into this cup and holding it towards Heaven, 
Achilles prayed to Zeus, the greatest of the gods : 
'' My comrade I send to the war, O far-seeing Zeus : 
May'st strengthen his heart, O Zeus, that all triumph be his : 
But when from the ships he hath driven the spear of our foes, 



Out of the turmoil of battle may he to me return 
Scathless, with arms and his comrades who fight hand to hand.'* 
' So Achilles prayed, and the Myrmidons beside their ships 
shouted in their eagerness to join in the battle.' 


HO was the first of the great Trojan 
Champions to go down before the onset 
of Patroklos? The first was Sarpedon 
who had come with an army to help 
Hector from a City beyond Troy. He 
saw the Myrmidons fight round the ships 
and break the ranks of the Trojans and 
quench the fire on the half -burnt ship. He saw that the war- 
rior who had the appearance of Achilles affrighted the Trojans 
so that they turned their horses' heads towards the City. The 
Myrmidons swept on with Patroklos at their head. Now when 
he saw him rushing down from the ships Sarpedon threw a 
dart at Patroklos. The dart did not strike him. Then Patro- 
klos flung a spear and struck Sarpedon even at the heart. He 
fell dead from his chariot and there began a battle for his body 
^ the Trojans would have carried it into the City, so that they 
might bury with all honour the man who had helped them, and 
the Greeks would have carried it away, so that, having his body 
and his armour, the slaying of Sarpedon might be more of a 
triumph for them.' 


* So a battle for his body went on. Now Sarpedon's comrade, 
Glaukos, sought out Hector, who was fighting in another part of 
the battle-field, and he spoke to him reproachfully. ''Hector,'' 
he said, "art thou utterly forgetful of those who came from their 
own country to help thee to protect thy father's City ? Sarpedon 
has fallen, and Achilles' Myrmidons would strip him of his armour 
and bring his body to the ships that their triumph over him may 
be greater still. Disgraceful will it be to thee, Hector, if they 
win that triumph." ' 

' Hector, when this was said to him, did not delay, but came 
straight to the spot where Sarpedon had been slain. The Greek 
who had laid hands upon the body he instantly slew. But as he 
fought on it suddenly seemed to Hector that the gods had re- 
solved to give victory to the Greeks, and his spirit grew weary 
and hopeless within him. He turned his horses' heads towards 
the City and galloped from the press of battle. Then the Trojans 
who were fighting round it fled from the body of Sarpedon, and 
the Greeks took it and stripped it of its armour and carried the 
body to their ships.' 

' It was then that Patroklos forgot the command of Achilles — • 
the command that he was not to bring the battle beyond the 
ships and that he was to return when the Trojans were beaten 
towards their City. Patroklos forgot all that, and he shouted 
to the immortal horses, Xanthos and Balios, that drew his chariot, 
and, slaying warrior after warrior he swept across the plain and 
came to the very gates of Troy.' 


' Now Hector was within the gates and had not yet left his 
chariot. Then there came and stood before him one who was 
thought to be the god Apollo, but who then had the likeness of 
a mortal man. "Hector," said he, "why hast thou ceased from 
the fight? Behold, Patroklos is without the gate of thy father's 
City. Turn thy horses against him now and strive to slay him, 
and may the gods give thee glory." ' 

* Then Hector bade his charioteer drive his horses through the 
gate and into the press of battle. He drew near to Patroklos, 
and Patroklos, leaping down from his chariot, seized a great 
stone and flung it at Hector's charioteer. It struck him on the 
brow and hurled him from the chariot.' 

* Hector too leaped from the chariot and took his sword in 
hand. Their men joined Patroklos and joined Hector and the 
battle began beside the body of Hector's charioteer. Three 
times did Patroklos rush against the ranks of the Trojans and 
nine warriors did he slay at each onset. But the doom of Patro- 
klos was nigh. A warrior smote him in the back and struck the 
helmet from his head. With its high horse-hair crest it rolled 
beneath the hooves of the horses. Who was it smote Prince 
Patroklos then? Men said it was the god Apollo who would 
not have the sacred City of Troy taken until the time the gods 
had willed it to fall.' 

' The spear fell from his hands, the great shield that Achilles 
had given him dropped on the ground, and all in amaze Patroklos 
stood. He gave ground and retreated towards his comrades. 


Then did Hector deal him the stroke that slew. With his great 
spear he struck and drove it through the body of Patroklos.' 

'Then did Hector exult crying, "Patroklos, thou didst swear 
that thou wouldst sack our sacred City and that thou wouldst 
take from our people their day of freedom. Now thou hast 
fallen and our City need not dread thee ever any more ! " ' 

'Then said Patroklos, ''Thou mayst boast now, Hector, al- 
though it was not thy stroke that slew me. Apollo's stroke it 
was that sent me down. Boast of my slaying as thou wilt, but 
hear my saying and keep it in thy heart : Thy fate too is meas- 
ured and thee Achilles will slay." ' 

UT Hector did not heed what the dying 
Patroklos said. He took from his body 
the armour of Achilles that had been a 
gift from the gods. The body too he 
would have brought within the City that 
his triumph might be greater, but now 
Aias came to where Patroklos had fallen 
and over the body he placed his great shield. The fight went 
on and Hector, withdrawing himself to the plain, put upon 
himself the armour he had stripped off the body of Patroklos. 
The armour fitted every limb and joint and as he put it on 
more courage and strength than ever yet he had felt came into 
the soul of Hector.' 

'And the immortal steeds that Patroklos had driven, ha\ang 
galloped from the battle, stood apart and would not move for 


all that their charioteer would do. They stood apart with their 
heads bowed, and tears flowed from their eyes down on the ground. 
And Zeus, the greatest of the gods, saw them and had pity upon 
them and spoke to himself saying, ''Ah, immortal steeds, why did 
I give ye to king Peleus, whose generations die while ye remain 
young and undying ? Was it that ye should know the sorrows 
that befall mortal men ? Pitiful, indeed, is the lot of all men upon 
the earth. Even Hector now, who boasteth in the armour that 
the gods once gave, will shortly go down to his death and the City 
he defendeth will be burned with fire." ' 

' So saying he put courage into the hearts of the immortal steeds 
and they went where the charioteer would have them go, and they 
came safely out of the battle.' 

' Now Hector, with the armour of Achilles upon him, gathered 
his companies together and brought them up to the battle to 
win and carry away the body of Patroklos. But each one who 
laid hands upon that body was instantly slain by Aias. All day 
the battle went on, for the Greeks would say to each other, " Com- 
rades, let the earth yawn and swallow us rather than let the 
Trojans carry off the body of Patroklos." And on their side the 
Trojans would say, ''Friends, rather let us all be slain together 
beside this man than let one of us go backward now." ' 

' Now Nestor's son, Antilochos, who was fighting on the left 
of the battlefield, heard of the slaying of Patroklos. His eyes 
filled with tears and his voice was choked with grief and he 
dashed out of the battle to bring the grievous tidings to the hut 



of Achilles. ''Fallen is Patroklos,'* he cried, ''and Greeks and 
Trojans are fighting around his body. And his body is naked 
now, for Hector has stripped the armour from it." * 

HEN Achilles fainted away, and his head 
lay in the ashes of his hut. He woke 
again and moaned terribly. His goddess- 
mother heard the sound of his grief as she 
sat within the depths of the Ocean. She 
came to him as he was still moaning ter- 
ribly. She took his hand and clasped it 
and said, "My child, why weep'st thou?" Achilles ceased his 
moaning and answered, "Patroklos, my dear friend, has been 
slain. Now I shall have no joy in my life save the joy of slay- 
iug Hector who slew my friend." ' 

' Thetis, his goddess-mother, wept when she heard such speech 
from Achilles. "Short-lived you will be, my son," she said, "for 
it is appointed by the gods that after the death of Hector your 
death will come." ' 

' "Straightway then let me die," said Achilles, "since I let my 
friend die without giving him help. O that I had not let my 
wrath overcome my spirit ! Here I stayed, a useless burthen on 
the earth, while my comrades and my own dear friend fought for 
their country — here I stayed, I who am the best of all the 
Greeks. But now let me go into the battle and let the Trojans 
know that Achilles has come back, although he tarried long." ' 
*"But thine armour, my son," said Thetis. "Thou hast no 


armour now to protect thee in the battle. Go not into it until 
thou seest me again. In the morning I shall return and I shall 
bring thee armour that Hephaistos, the smith of the gods, shall 
make for thee." ' 

* So she spoke, and she turned from her son, and she went to 
Olympus where the gods have their dwellings.' 

' Now darkness had come down on those who battled round the 
body of Patroklos, and in that darkness more Greeks than Tro- 
jans were slain. It seemed to the Greeks that Zeus had resolved 
to give the victory to the Trojans and not to them, and they were 
dismayed. But four Greek heroes Hfted up the body and put it 
upon their shoulders, and Aias and his brother stood facing the 
Trojans, holding them back while the four tried to bear the body 
away. The Trojans pressed on, striking with swords and axes, 
but like a wooded ridge that stretches across a plain and holds 
back a mighty flood, Aias and his brother held their ground.' 

* Achilles still lay in his hut, moaning in his grief, and the ser- 
vants raised loud lamentations outside the hut. *The day wore 
on and the battle went on and Hector strove against Aias and 
his brother. Then the figure of a goddess appeared before 
Achilles as he lay on the ground. ''Rouse thee, Achilles," she 
said, "or Hector will drag into Troy the body of thy friend, 
Patroklos." ' 

' Said Achilles, " Goddess Iris, how may I go into the battle 
since the Trojans hold the armour that should protect me?" ' 

* Said Iris, the Messenger of the gods, " Go down to the wall as 



thou art and show thyself to the men of Troy, and it may be that 
they will shrink back on seeing thee and hearing thy voice, and 
so give those who defend the body of Patroklos a breathing- 
spell." ' 

' So she said and departed. Then Achilles arose and went down 
to the wall that had been built around the ships. He stood upon 
the wall and shouted across the trench, and friends and foes saw 
him and heard his voice. Around his head a flame of fire arose 
such as was never seen before around the head of a mortal man. 
And seeing the flame of fire around his head and hearing his 
terrible voice the Trojans were affrighted and stood still. Then 
the Greeks took up the body of Patroklos and laid it on a fitter 
and bore it out of the battle.' 


^OW Thetis, the mother of Achilles, went 
to Olympus where the gods have their 
dwellings and to the house of Hephaistos, 
the smith of the gods. That house shone 
above all the houses on Olympus because 
Hephaistos himself had made it of shining 
bronze. And inside the house there were 
wonders — handmaidens that were not living but that wxre 
made out of gold and made with such wondrous skill that 
they waited upon Hephaistos and served and helped him as 
though they were Hving maids.' 


' Hephaistos was lame and crooked of foot and went limping. 
He and Thetis were friends from of old time, for, when his mother 
would have forsaken him because of his crooked foot, Thetis 
and her sister reared him within one of the Ocean's caves and it 
was while he was with them that he began to work in metals. 
So the lame god was pleased to see Thetis in his dwelHng and he 
welcomed her and clasped her hand and asked of her what she 
would have him do for her.' 

' Then Thetis, weeping, told him of her son Achilles, how he had 
lost his dear friend and how he was moved to go into the battle 
to fight with Hector, and how he was without armour to protect 
his life, seeing that the armour that the gods had once given his 
father was now in the hands of his foe. And Thetis besought 
Hephaistos to make new armour for her son that he might go 
into the battle.' 

' She no sooner finished speaking than Hephaistos went to his 
work-bench and set his bellows — twenty were there — work- 
ing. And the twenty bellows blew into the crucibles and made 
bright and hot fires. Then Hephaistos threw into the fires 
bronze and tin and silver and gold. He set on the anvil-stand 
a great anvil, and took in one hand his hammer and in the other 
hand his tongs.' 

' For the armour of Achilles he made first a shield and then a 
corselet that gleamed like fire. And he made a strong helmet to go 
on the head and shining greaves to wear on the ankles. The 
shield was made with five folds, one fold of metal upon the other, 




\ l\\\ ^""^^""^ I 

] iW 

\ ( 






so that it was so strong and thick that no spear or arrow could 
pierce it. And upon this shield he hammered out images that 
were a wonder to men.' 

^ The first were images of the sun and the moon and of the stars 
that the shepherds and the seamen watch — the Pleiades and 
Hyads and Orion and the Bear that is also called the Wain. And 
below he hammered out the images of two cities : in one there 
were people going to feasts and playing music and dancing and 
giving judgements in the market-place : the other was a city 
besieged : there were warriors on the walls and there was an 
army marching out of the gate to give battle to those that be- 
sieged them. And below the images of the cities he made a 
picture of a ploughed field, with ploughmen driving their yokes of 
oxen along the furrows, and with men bringing them cups of wine. 
And he made a picture of another field where men were reaping 
and boys were gathering the corn, where there was a servant 
beneath an oak tree making ready a feast, and women making 
ready barley for a supper for the men who were reaping, and a 
King standing apart and watching all, holding a staff in his 
hands and rejoicing at all he saw.' 

* And another image he made of a vineyard, with clusters of 
grapes that showed black, and with the vines hanging from silver 
poles. And he showed maidens and youths in the vineyard, 
gathering the grapes into baskets, and one amongst them, a boy, 
who played on the viol. Beside the image of the vineyard he 
made images of cattle, with herdsmen, and with nine dogs guarding 


them. But he showed two Hons that had come up and had seized 
the bull of the herd, and the dogs and men strove to drive them 
away but were affrighted. And beside the image of the oxen 
he made the image of a pasture land, with sheep in it, and sheep- 
folds and roofed huts.' 

' He made yet another picture — a dan,cing-place with youths 
and maidens dancing, their hands upon each others' hands. 
Beautiful dresses and wreaths of flowers the maidens had on, and 
the youths had daggers of gold hanging from their silver belts. 
A great company stood around those who were dancing, and 
amongst them there was a minstrel who played on the 

* Then all around the rim of the shield Hephaistos, the lame god, 
set an image of Ocean, whose stream goes round the world. Not 
long was he in making the shield and the other wonderful pieces 
of armour. As soon as the armour was ready Thetis put her 
hands upon it, and flying down from Olympus hke a hawk, 
brought it to the feet of Achilles, her son.' 

' And Achilles, when he saw the splendid armour that Hephaistos 
the lame god had made for him, rose up from where he lay and 
took the wonderfully-wrought piece in his hands. And he began 
to put the armour upon him, and none of the Myrmidons who 
were around could bear to look upon it, because it shone with 
such brightness and because it had all the marks of being the 
work of a god.' 




|HEN Achilles put his shining armour upon 
him and it fitted him as though it were 
wings ; he put the wonderful shield before 
him and he took in his hands the great 
spear that Cheiron the Centaur had given 
to Peleus his father — that spear that no 
one else but Achilles could wield. He 
bade his charioteer harness the immortal horses Xanthos and 
Balios. Then as he mounted his chariot Achilles spoke to the 
horses. "Xanthos and Balios," he said, "this time bring the 
hero that goes with you back safely to the ships, and do not 
leave him dead on the plain as ye left the hero Patroklos." ' 

* Then Xanthos the immortal steed spoke, answering for him- 
self and his comrade. "Achilles," he said, with his head bowed 
and his mane touching the ground, "Achilles, for this time we 
will bring thee safely back from the battle. But a day will come 
when we shall not bring thee back, when thou too shalt lie with 
the dead before the walls of Troy." ' 

* Then was Achilles troubled and he said, "Xanthos, my steed, 
why dost thou remind me by thy prophecies of what I know 
already — that my death too is appointed, and that I am to 
perish here, far from my father and my mother and my own 
land." ' 

' Then he drove his immortal horses into the battle. The 


Trojans were affrighted when they saw Achilles himself in the 
fight, blazing in the armour that Hephaistos had made for him. 
They went backward before his onset. And Achilles shouted 
to the captains of the Greeks, "No longer stand apart from the 
men of Troy, but go with me into the battle and let each man 
throw his whole soul into the fight." ' 

' And on the Trojan side Hector cried to his captains and said, 
" Do not let Achilles drive you before him. Even though his hands 
are as irresistible as fire and his fierceness as terrible as flashing 
steel, I shall go against him and face him with my spear." ' 

* But Achilles went on, and captain after captain of the Trojans 
went down before him. Now amongst the warriors whom he 
caught sight of in the fight was Polydoros, the brother of Hector 
and the youngest of all King Priam's sons. Priam forbade him 
ever to go into the battle because he loved him as he would love 
a little child. But Polydoros had gone in this day, trusting 
to his fleetness of foot to escape with liis fife. Achilles saw him 
and pursued him and slew him with the spear. Hector saw the 
death of his brother. Then he could no longer endure to stand 
aside to order the battle. He came straight up to where Achilles 
was brandishing his great spear. And when Achilles saw Hector 
before him he cried out, "Here is the man who most deeply 
wounded my soul, who slew my dear friend Patroklos. Now 
shall we two fight each other and Patroklos shall be avenged by 
me." And he shouted to Hector, "Now Hector, the day of thy 
triumph and the day of thy fife is at its end." ' 


*But Hector answered him without fear, ''Not with wordsj 
Achilles, can you affright me. Yet I know that thou art a man 
of might and a stronger man than I. But the fight between us 
depends upon the will of the gods. I shall do my best against 
thee, and my spear before this has been found to have a danger- 
ous edge." ' 

' He spoke and hf ted up his spear and flung it at Achilles. Then 
the breath of a god turned Hector's spear aside, for it was not 
appointed that either he or Achilles should be then slain. Acliil- 
les darted at Hector to slay him with his spear. But a god hid 
Hector from Achilles in a thick mist.* 

' Then in a rage Achilles drove his chariot into the ranks of the 
war and many great captains he slew. He came to Skamandros, 
the river that flows across the plain before the city of Troy. And 
so many men did he slay in it that the river rose in anger against 
him for choking its waters with the bodies of men.' 

' Then on towards the City, he went like a fire raging through 
a glen thsit had been parched with heat. Now on a tower of the 
walls of Troy, Priam the old King stood, and he saw the Trojans 
coming in a rout towards the City, and he saw Achilles in his 
armour blazing like a star — like that star that is seen at harvest 
time and is called Orion's Dog ; the star that is the brightest of 
all stars, but yet is a sign of evil. And the old man Priam sorrowed 
greatly as he stood upon the tower and watched Achilles, because 
he knew in his heart whom this man would slay — Hector, his son, 
the protector of his City J 




JO much of the story of Achilles did Tele- 
machus, the son of Odysseus, hear from 
the lips of King Menelaus as he sat with 
his comrade Peisistratus in the ICing's 
f easting-hall. And more would Menelaus 
have told them then if Helen, his wife, 
had not been seen to weep. 'Why weepst 
thou, Helen?' said Menelaus. 'Ah, surely I know. It is be- 
cause the words that tell of the death of Hector are sorrowful 
to thee.' 

And Helen, the lovely lady, said 'Never did Prince Hector 
speak a hard or a harsh w^ord to me in all the years I was in his 
father's house. And if anyone upbraided me he would come and 
speak gentle words to me. Ah, greatly did I lament for the 
death of noble Hector ! After his wife and his mother I w^pt 
the most for him. And when one speaks of his slaving I can- 
not help but weep.' 

Said Menelaus, 'Relieve your heart of its sorrow, Helen, by 
praising Hector to this youth and by telling your memories of 

'To-morrow I shall do so,' said the lady Helen. She went 
with her maids from the hall and the servants took Telemachus 
and Peisistratus to their sleeping places. 
The next day they sat in the banqueting hall ; King Mene- 


laus and Telemachus and Peisistratus, and the lady Helen came 
amongst them. Her handmaidens brought into the hall her sil- 
ver work-basket that had wheels beneath it with rims of gold, and 
her golden distaff that, with the basket, had been presents from 
the wife of the King of Egypt. And Helen sat in her chair and 
took the distaff in her hands and worked on the violet-coloured 
wool that was in her basket. And as she worked she told Tele- 
machus of Troy and of its guardian, Hector. 

[AID Helen, * The old men were at the gate 
of the City talking over many things, and 
King Priam was amongst them. It was 
in the days when Achilles first quarrelled 
with King Agamemnon. *'Come hither, 
my daughter," said King Priam to me, 
*'and sit by me and tell me who the war- 
riors are who now come out upon the plain. You have seen 
them all before, and I would have you tell me who such and such 
a one is. Who is yon hero who seems so mighty? I have seen 
men who were more tall than he by a head, but I have never 
seen a man who looked more royal." ' 

' I said to King Priam. *' The hero whom you look upon is the 
leader of the host of the Greeks. He is the renowned King 
Agamemnon." ' 

' " He looks indeed a Eling," said Priam. ^' Tell me now who the 
other warrior is who is shorter by a head than King Agamemnon, 
but who is broader of chest and shoulder." ' 


* " He is Odysseus," I said, " who was reared in rugged Ithaka, 
but who is wise above all the Kings." ' 

'And an old man, Antenor, who was by us said, "That indeed 
is Odysseus. I remember that he and Menelaus came on an 
embassy to the assembly of the Trojans. When they both 
stood up, Menelaus seemed the greater man, but when they 
sat down Odysseus seemed by far the most stately. When 
they spoke in the assembly, Menelaus was ready and skilful of 
speech. Odysseus when he spoke held his staff stiffly in his 
hands and fixed his eyes on the ground. We thought by the 
look of him then that he was a man of no understanding. But 
when he began to speak we saw that no one could match Odys- 
seus — his words came like snow-flakes in winter and his voice 
was very resonant." ' 

'And Priam said, ''Who is that huge warrior? I think he is 
taller and broader than any of the rest." ' 

'"He is great Aias," I said, "who is as a bulwark for the Greeks. 
And beside him stands Idomeneus, who has come from the Island 
of Crete. Around him stand the Cretan captains." So I spoke, 
but my heart was searching for a sight of my own two brothers. 
I did not see them in any of the companies. Had they come 
with the host, I wondered, and were they ashamed to be seen 
with the warriors on account of my wrong-doing? I wondered 
as I looked for them. Ah, I did not know that even then my two 
dear brothers were dead, and that the earth of their own dear 
land held them.' 


' Hector came to the gate and the wives and daughters of the 
Trojans came running to him, asking for news of their husbands 
or sons or brothers, whether they were killed or whether they 
were coming back from the battle. He spoke to them all and 
went to his own house. But Andromache, his wife, was not 
there, and the housedame told him that she had gone to the 
great tower by the wall of the City to watch the battle and that 
the nurse had gone with her, bringing their infant child. 

' So Hector went down the street and came to the gate where 
we were, and Andromache his wife came to meet him. With her 
was the nurse who carried the little child that the folk of the city 
named Astyanax, calling him, 'King of the City' because his 
father was their city's protector. Hector stretched out his arms 
to the little boy whom the nurse carried. But the child shrank 
away from him, because he was frightened of the great helmet 
on his father's head with its horse-hair crest. Then Hector 
laughed and Andromache laughed with him, and Hector took off 
his great helmet and laid it on the ground. Then he took up his 
little son and dandled him in his arms, and prayed, ^'O Zeus, 
greatest of the gods, grant that this son of mine may become 
valiant, and that, like me, he may be protector of the City and 
thereafter a great King, so that men may say of him as he returns 
from battle, 'Far greater is he than was Hector his father."* 
Saying this he left the child back in his nurse's arms. And to 
Andromache, his wife, who that day was very fearful, he said 
"Dear one, do not be over sorrowful. You urge me not to go 



every day into the battle, but some days to stay behind the walls. 
But my own spirit forbids me to stay away from battle, for 
always I have taught myself to be valiant and to fight in the 
forefront." ' 

' So he said and he put on his helmet again and went to order 
his men. And his wife went towards the house, looking back at 
him often and letting her tears fall down. Thou knowst from 
Menelaus' story what triumphs Hector had thereafter — how 
he drove the Greeks back to their ships and affrighted them with 
his thousand watch-fires upon the plain ; how he drove back the 
host that Agamemnon led when Diomedes and Odysseus and 
Machaon the healer were wounded; how he broke through the 
wall that the Greeks had builded and brought fire to their ships, 
and how he slew Patroklos in the armour of Achilles/ 


ING PRIAM on his tower saw Achilles 
come raging across the plain and he cried 
out to Hector, ''Hector, beloved son, do 
not await this man's onset but come 
within the City's walls. Come within 
that thou mayst live and be a protection 
to the men and women of Troy. And 

come within that thou mayst save thy father who must perish 

if thou art slain." ' 

'But Hector would not come within the walls oi the City. He 


stood holding his shield against a jutting tower in the wall. And 
ail around him were the Trojans, who came pouring in through 
the gate without waiting to speak to each other to ask who were 
yet hving and who were slain. And as he stood there he was say- 
ing in his heart, "The fault is mine that the Trojans have been 
defeated upon the plain. I kept them from entering the City 
last night against the counsel of a wise man, for in my pride I 
thought it would be easy to drive Achilles and the Greeks back 
again and defeat them utterly and destroy their hopes of return. 
Now are the Trojans defeated and dishonoured and many have 
lost their lives through my pride. Now the w^omen of Troy will 
say, ' Hector, by trusting to his own might, has brought destruc- 
tion upon the whole host and our husbands and sons and brothers 
have perished because of him.' Rather than hear them say this 
I shall face Achilles and slay him and save the City, or, if it must 
be, perish by his spear." ' 

' When Achilles came near him Hector spoke to him and said 
''My heart bids me stand against thee although thou art a 
mightier man than I. But before we go into battle let us take 
pledges, one from the other, with the gods to witness, that, if I 
should slay thee, I shall strip thee of thine armour but I shall not 
carry thy body into the City but shall give it to thine own friends 
to treat with all honour, and that, if thou should slay me, thou 
shalt give my body to my friends." ' 

'But Achilles said, ''Between me and thee there can be no 
pledges. Fight, and fight with all thy soldiership, for now I shall 


strive to make thee pay for all the sorrow thou hast brought to 
me because of the slaying of Patroklos, my friend." ' 

' He spoke and raised his spear and flung it. But with his 
quickness Hector avoided Achilles' spear. And he raised his 
own, saying, "Thou hast missed me, and not yet is the hour of 
my doom. Now it is thy turn to stand before my spear." ' 

^He flung it, but the wonderful shield of Achilles turned Hector's 
spear and it fell on the ground. Then was Hector downcast, for 
he had no other spear. He drew his sword and sprang at Achilles. 
But the helmet and shield of Achilles let none of Hector's great 
strokes touch his body. And Achilles got back into his hands 
his own great spear, and he stood guarding himself with his shield 
and watching Hector for a spot to strike him on. Now in the 
armour that Hector wore — the armour that he had stripped off 
Patroklos — there was a point at the neck where there was an 
opening. As Hector came on Achilles drove at his neck with his 
spear and struck him and Hector fell in the dust.' 

' Then Achilles stripped from him the armour that Patroklos 
had worn. The other captains of the Greeks came up and looked 
at Hector where he lay and all marvelled at his size and strength 
and goodliness. And Achilles dragged the body at his chariot 
and drove away towards the ships.' 

* Hector's mother, standing on the tower on the wall, saw all that 
was done and she broke into a great cry. And all the women of 
Troy took up the cry and wailed for Prince Hector who had 
guarded them and theirs from the foe. Andromache, his wife, 


did not know the terrible thing that had happened. She was 
in an inner chamber of Hector's house, weaving a great web of 
cloth and broidering it with flowers, and she had ordered her 
handmaidens to heat water for the bath, so that Hector might 
refresh himself when he came in from the fight. But now 
she heard the wail of the women of Troy. Fear came upon 
her, for she knew that such wailing was for the best of their 

' She ran from her chamber and out into the street and came 
to the battlements where the people stood watching. She saw 
the chariot of Achilles dashing off towards the ships and she 
knew that it dragged the dead body of Hector. Then darkness 
came before her eyes and she fainted away. Her husband's 
sisters and his brothers' wives thronged round her and Hfted her 
up. And at last her life came back to her and she wailed for 
Hector, "O my husband," she cried, "for misery were we two 
born ! Now thou hast been slain by Achilles and I am left 
husbandless ! And ah, woe for our young child ! Hard-hearted 
strangers shall oppress him when he lives amongst people that 
care not for him or his. And he will come weeping to me, 
his widowed mother, who will live forever sorrow^ful think- 
ing upon where thou liest. Hector, by the ships of those who 
slew thee." ' 

'So Andromache spoke and all the women of Troy joined 
in her grief and wept for great Hector who had protected their 




^OW that Hector was dead, King Priam, his 
father, had only one thought in his mind, 
and that was to get his body from Achil- 
les and bring it into the City so that it 
might be treated with the honour befit- 
ting the man who had been the guardian 
of Troy. And while he sat in his grief, 
thinking of his noble son lying so far from those who would 
have wept over him, behold ! there appeared before him Iris, 
the messenger of Zeus, the greatest of the Gods. Iris said to 
him, ''King, thou mayst ransom from Achilles the body of 
Hector, thy noble son. Go thou thyself to the hut of Achilles 
and brmg with thee great gifts to offer him. Take with thee a 
wagon that thou mayst bring back in it the body, and let only 
one old henchman go with thee to drive the mules." ' 

* Then Priam, when he heard this, arose and went into his treas- 
ure chamber and took out of his chests twelve beautiful robes ; 
twelve bright-coloured cloaks; twelve soft coverlets and ten 
talents of gold ; he took, too, four cauldrons and two tripods and 
a wonderful goblet that the men of Thrace had given him 
when they had come on an embassy to his city. Then he 
called upon his sons and he bade them make ready the wagon 
and load it with the treasures he had brought out of his treasure- 


* When the wagon was loaded and the mules were yoked under 
it, and when Priam and his henchman had mounted the seats, 
Hekabe, the queen, Priam's wife and the mother of Hector, came 
with wine and with a golden cup that they might pour out an 
offering to the gods before they went on their journey ; that they 
might know whether the gods indeed favoured it, or whether 
Priam himself was not going into danger. King Priam took the 
cup from his wife and he poured out wine from it, and looking 
towards heaven he prayed, *'0 Father Zeus, grant that I may 
find welcome under Achilles' roof, and send, if thou wilt, a bird of 
omen, so that seeing it with mine own eyes I may go on my way 
trusting that no harm will befall me." ' 

' He prayed, and straightway a great eagle was seen with wide 
wings spread out above the City, and when they saw the eagle, 
the hearts of the people were glad for they knew that their King 
would come back safely and with the body of Prince Hector who 
had guarded Troy.* 

' Now Priam and his henchman drove across the plain of Troy 
and came to the river that flowed across and there they let their 
mules drink. They were greatly troubled, for dark night was 
coming down and they knew not the way to the hut of Achilles. 
They were in fear too that some company of armed men would 
come upon them and slay them for the sake of the treasures they 
had in the wagon.' 

* The henchman saw a young man coming towards them. And 
when he reached them he spoke to them kindly and offered to 


guide them through the camp and to the hut of Achilles. He 
mounted the wagon and took the reins in his hands and drove 
the mules. He brought them to the hut of Achilles and helped 
Priam from the wagon and carried the gifts they had brought 
within the hut. ''Know, King Priam," he said, ''that I am not 
a mortal, but that I am one sent by Zeus to help and companion 
thee upon the way. Go now within the hut and speak to Achilles 
and ask him, for his father's sake, to restore to thee the body of 
Hector, thy son." ' 

' So he spoke and departed and King Priam went within the 
hut. There great Achilles was sitting and King Priam went to 
him and knelt before him and clasped the hands of the man who 
had slain his son. And Achilles wondered when he saw him 
there, for he did not know how one could have come to his hut 
and entered it without being seen. He knew then that it was 
one of the gods who had guided this man. Priam spoke to him 
and said, ''Bethink thee, Achilles upon thine own father. He 
is now of an age with me, and perhaps even now, in thy far- 
away country, there are those who make him suffer pain and 
misery. But however great the pain and misery he may suffer 
he is happy compared to me, for he knows that thou, his son, art 
still alive. But I no longer have him who was the best of my 
sons. Now for thy father's sake have I come to thee, Achilles, 
to ask for the body of Hector, my son. I am more pitiable than 
thy father or than any man, for I have come through dangers to 
take in my hands the hands that slew my son." ' 


* Achilles remembered his father and felt sorrow for the old man 
who knelt before him. He took King Priam by the hand and 
raised him up and seated him on the bench beside him. And he 
wept, remembering old Peleus, his father.' 

' He called his handmaids and he bade them take the body of 
Hector and wash it and wrap it in two of the robes that Priam 
had brought. WTien they had done all this he took up the body 
of Hector and laid it himself upon the wagon.' 

' Then he came and said to King Priam, ''Thy son is laid upon 
a bier, and at the break of day thou mayst bring him back to the 
City. But now eat and rest here for this night." ' 

' King Priam ate, and he looked at Achilles and he saw how great 
and how goodly he was. And Achilles looked at Priam and he 
saw how noble and how kingly he looked. And this was the first 
time that Achilles and Priam the King of Troy really saw each 

' When they gazed on each other King Priam said, ''When thou 
goest to lie down, lord Achilles, permit me to lie down also. Not 
once have my eyelids closed, in sleep since my son Hector lost 
his hfe. And now I have tasted bread and meat and wine for 
the first time since, and I could sleep." ' 

'Achilles ordered that a bed be made in the portico for King 
Priam and his henchman, but before they went Achilles said : 
^'Tell me, King, and tell me truly, for how many days dost thou 
desire to make a funeral for Hector? For so many days space 
I will keep back the battle from the City so that thou mayst 


make the funeral in peace." "For nine days we would watch 
beside Hector's body and lament for him ; on the tenth day we 
would have the funeral ; on the eleventh day we would make the 
barrow over him, and on the twelfth day we would fight," King 
Priam said. ''Even for twelve days I will hold the battle back 
from the City," said Achilles.' 

'Then Priam and his henchman went to rest. But in the 
middle of the night the young man who had guided him to the 
hut of Achilles — the god Hermes he was — appeared before his 
bed and bade him arise and go to the wagon and yoke the mules 
and drive back to the City with the body of Hector. Priam 
aroused his henchman and they went out and yoked the mules 
and mounted the wagon, and with Hermes to guide them they 
drove back to the City.' 

'And Achilles on his bed thought of his own fate — how he 
too would die in battle, and how for him there would be no father 
to make lament. But he would be laid where he had asked his 
friends to lay him — beside Patroklos — and over them both the 
Greeks would raise a barrow that would be wondered at in after 

' So Achilles thought. And afterwards the arrow fired by Paris 

struck him as he fought before the gate of the City, and he was 

slain even on the place where he slew Hector. But the Greeks 

carried off his body and his armour and brought them back 

to the ships. And Achilles was lamented over, though not by old 

Peleus, his father. From the depths of the sea came Thetis, his 



goddess-mother, and with her came the Maidens of the Sea. 
They covered the body of Achilles with wonderful raiment 
and over it they lamented for seventeen days and seventeen 
nights. On the eighteenth day he was laid in the grave beside 
Patroklos, his dear friend, and over them both the Greeks raised 
a barrow that was wondered at in the after- times.' 


IJOW Hector's sister was the first to see hei 
father coming in the dawn across the 
plain of Troy with the wagon upon which 
his body was laid. She came down to 
the City and she cried through the streets, 
''O men and women of Troy, ye who 
often went to the gates to meet Hector 
coming back wdth victory, come now to the gates to receive 
Hector dead." ' 

' Then every man and woman in the City took themselves out- 
side the gate. And they brought in the wagon upon which 
Hector was laid, and all day from the early dawn to the going 
down of the sun they wailed for him who had been the guardian 
of their city.' 

' His father took the body to the house where Hector had lived 
and he laid it upon his bed. Then Hector's wife, Andromache, 
went to the bed and cried over the body. ''Husband," she cried, 
''thou art gone from life, and thou hast left me a widow in thy 


house. Our child is yet little, and he shall not grow to manhood 
in the halls that were thine, for long before that the City will be 
taken and destroyed. Ah, how can it stand, when thou, who wert 
its best guardian, hast perished ? The folk lament thee. Hector ; 
but for me and for thy little son, doomed to grow up amongst 
strangers and men unfriendly to him, the pain for thy death will 
ever abide." ' 

'And Hekabe, Hector's mother, went to the bed and cried 
''Of all my children thou, Hector, wert the dearest. Thou wert 
slain because it was not thy way to play the coward ; ever wert 
thou championing the men and women of Troy without thought 
of taking shelter or flight. And for that thou wert slain, my 
son." ' 

'And I, Helen, went to the bed too, to lament for noble Hector. 
"Of all the friends I had in Troy, thou wert the dearest. Hector," 
I cried. "Never did I hear one harsh word from thee to me who 
brought wars and troubles to thy City. In every way thou wert 
as a brother to me. Therefore I bewail thee with pain at my 
heart, for in all Troy there is no one now who is friendly 
to me."' 

' Then did the King and the folk of the City prepare for 
Hector's funeral. On the tenth day, weeping most bitter tears 
they bore brave Hector away. And they made a grave for him, 
and over the grave they put close-set stones, and over it all they 
raised a great barrow. On the eleventh day they feasted at King 
Priam's house, and on the twelfth day the battle began anew.' 




OR many days Telemachus and his com- 
rade Peisistratus stayed in the house of 
King Menelaus. On the evening before 
he departed Menelaus spoke to him of 
the famous deeds of his father, Odysseus. 
'Now Achilles was dead/ said Mene- 
laus, ' and his glorious armour was offered 
as a prize for the warrior whom the Greeks thought the most 
of. Two men strove for the prize — Odysseus and his friend 
Aias. To Odysseus the armour of Achilles was given, but he 
was in no way glad of the prize, for his getting it had wounded 
the proud spirit of great Aias.' 

'It was fitting that Odysseus should have been given Achilles' 
armour, for no warrior in the host had done better than he. But 
Odysseus was to do still greater things for us. He knew that 
only one man could wield a bow better than Paris, — Paris who had 
shot with an arrow Achilles, and who after that had slain many of 
our chiefs. That man was Philoctetes. He had come with Aga- 
memnon's host to Troy. But Philoctetes had been bitten by 
a water-snake, and the wound given him was so terrible that none 
of our warriors could bear to be near him. He was left on thi 
Island of Lemnos and the host lost memory of him. But Odys- 
seus remembered, and he took ship to Lemnos and brought 
Philoctetes back. With his great bow and with the arrows of 


Hercules that were his, Philoctetes shot at Paris upon the wall 
of Troy and slew him with an arrow.' 

^And then Odysseus devised the means by which we took 
Priam's city at last. He made us build a great Wooden Horse. 
We built it and left it upon the plain of Troy and the Trojans 
wondered at it greatly. And Odysseus had counselled us to 
bring our ships down to the water and to burn our stores and 
make it seem in every way that we were going to depart from 
Troy in weariness. This we did, and the Trojans saw the great 
host sail away from before their City. But they did not know 
that a company of the best of our warriors was within the hollow 
of the Wooden Horse, nor did they know that we had left a 
spy behind to make a signal for our return.' 

' The Trojans wondered why the great Wooden Horse had been 
left behind. And there were some who considered that it had 
been left there as an offering to the goddess, Pallas Athene, and 
they thought it should be brought within the city. Others were 
wiser and would have left the Wooden Horse alone. But those 
who considered that it should be brought within prevailed ; and, 
as the Horse was too great to bring through the gate, they flung 
down part of the wall that they might bring it through. The 
Wooden Horse was brought within the walls and left upon the 
streets of the city and the darkness of the night fell.' 

'Now Helen, my wife, came down to where the Wooden Korse 
was, and she, suspecting there were armed men within, walked 
around it three times, calling to every captain of the Greeks who 


might be within in his own wife's voice. And when the sound 
of a voice that had not been heard for so many years came to 
him each of the captains started up to answer. But Odysseus 
put his hands across the mouth of each and so prevented them 
from being discovered.' 

*We had left a spy hidden between the beach and the city. 
Now when the Wooden Horse had been brought within the walls 
and night had fallen, the spy lighted a great fire that was signal 
to the ships that had sailed away. They returned with the host 
before the day broke. Then we who were within the Wooden 
Horse broke through the boards and came out on the City with 
our spears and swords in our hands. The guards beside the gates 
we slew and we made a citadel of the Wooden Horse and fought 
around it. The warriors from the ships crossed the wall where 
it was broken down, and we swept through the streets and came 
to the citadel of the King. Thus we took Priam's City and all 
its treasures, and thus I won back my own wife, the lovely Helen.* 

'But after we had taken and sacked King Priam's City, great 
troubles came upon us. Some of us sailed away, and some of us 
remained on the shore at the bidding of King Agamemnon, to 
make sacrifice to the gods. We separated, and the doom of 
death came to many of us. Nestor I saw at Lesbos, but none 
other of our friends have I ever since seen. Agamemnon, my own 
brother, came to his own land. But ah, it would have been happier 
for him if he had died on the plain of Troy, and if we had left a 
great barrow heaped above him ! For he was slain in his own 



house and by one who had married the wife he had left behind. 
When the Ancient One of the Sea told me of my brother's doom 
I sat down upon the sand and wept, and I was minded to live 
no more nor to see the light of the sun.' 

'And of thy father, Telemachus, I have told thee what I my- 
self know and what was told me of him by the Ancient One of 
the Sea — how he stays on an Island where the nymph Calypso 
holds him against his will : but where that Island Hes I do not 
know. Odysseus is there, and he cannot win back to his own 
country, seeing that he has no ship and no companions to help 
him to make his way across the sea. But Odysseus was ever 
master of devices. And also he is favoured greatly by the 
goddess, Pallas Athene. For these reasons, Telemachus, be 
hopeful that your father will yet reach his own home and 



OW the goddess, Pallas Athene, had 
thought for Telemachus, and she came 
to him where he lay in the vestibule of 
Menelaus' house. His comrade, Peisistra- 
tus was asleep, but Telemachus was wake- 
ful, thinking upon his father. 
Athene stood before his bed and said 
to him, 'Telemachus, no longer shouldst thou wander abroad, 
for the time has come when thou shouldst return. Come. 
Rouse Menelaus, and let him send thee upon thy way.' 


Then Telemachus woke Peisistratus oiit of his sleep and 
told him that it was best that they should be going on 
their journey. But Peisistratus said, 'Tarry until it is dawn, 
Telemachus, when Menelaus will come to us and send us on 
our way.' 

Then when it was light King Menelaus came to them. When 
he heard that they would depart he told the lady Helen to bid 
the maids prepare a meal for them. He himself, with Helen his 
wife, and Megapenthes, his son, went down into his treasure- 
chamber and brought forth for gifts to Telemachus a two- 
handled cup and a great mixing bowl of silver. And Helen took 
out of a chest a beautiful robe that she herself had made and 
embroidered. They came to Telemachus where he stood by 
the chariot with Peisistratus ready to depart. Then Menelaus 
gave him the beautiful two-handled cup that had been a gift to 
himself from the king of the Sidonians. Megapenthes brought 
up the great bowl of silver and put it in the chariot, and beautiful 
Helen came to him holding the embroidered robe. 

'I too have a gift, dear child, for thee,' she said. 'Bring 
this robe home and leave it in thy mother's keeping. ^I want 
thee to have it to give to thy bride when thou bringest her into 
thy father's halls.' 

Then were the horses yoked to the chariot and Telemachus 
and Peisistratus bade farewell to Menelaus and Helen who had 
treated them so kindly. As they were ready to ^o Menelaus 
poured out of a golden cup wine as an offering to the s^ods. And 


as Menelaus poured it out, Telemachus prayed that he might 
find Odysseus, his father, in his home. 

Now as he prayed a bird flew from the right hand and over 
the horses' heads. It was an eagle, and it bore in its claws a goose 
that belonged to the farmyard. Telemachus asked Menelaus 
was this not a sign from Zeus, the greatest of the Gods. 

Then said Helen, ' Hear me now, for I will prophesy from this 
sign to you. Even as yonder eagle has flown down from the 
mountain and killed a goose of the farmyard, so will Odysseus 
come from far to his home and kill the wooers who are there.' 

'May Zeus grant that it be so,' said Telemachus. He spoke 
and lashed the horses, and they sped across the plain. 

When they came near the city of Pylos, Telemachus spoke to 
his comrade, Peisistratus, and said : 

'Do not take me past my ship, son of Nestor. Thy good 
father expects me to return to his house, but I fear that if I should, 
he, out of friendliness, would be anxious to make me stay many 
days. But I know that I should now return to Ithaka.' 

The son of Nestor turned the horses towards the sea and they 
drove the chariot to where Telemachus' ship was anchored. 
Then Telemachus gathered his followers, and he bade them take 
on board the presents that Menelaus and Helen had given him. 

They did this, and they raised the mast and the sails and the 
rowers took their seats on the benches. A breeze came and the 
sails took it and Telemachus and his companions sailed towards 
home. And all unknown to the youth, his father, Odysseus, was 
even then nearing his home. 












L. A Tsr d: how he over 







VER mindful was Pallas Athene of Odys- 
seus although she might not help him 
openly because of a wrong he had done 
Poseidon, the god of the sea. But she 
spoke at the council of the gods, and she 
won from Zeus a pledge that Odysseus 
would now be permitted to return to his 
own land. On that day she went to Ithaka, and, appearing to 
Telemachus, moved him, as has been told, to go on the voyage in 
search of his father. And on that day, too, Hermes, by the wull 
of Zeus, went to Ogygia — to that Island where, as the Ancient 
One of the Sea had shown Menelaus, Odysseus was held by the 
nymph Calypso. 

Beautiful indeed was that Island. All round the cave where 
Calypso lived was a blossoming wood — alder, poplar and cypress 
trees were there, and on their branches roosted long- winged birds 
— ■ falcons and owls and chattering sea-crows. Before the cave 
was a soft meadow in which thousands of violets bloomed, and 
with four fountains that gushed out of the ground and made clear 



streams through the grass. Across the cave grew a straggling 
vme, heavy with clusters of grapes. Calypso was within the cave, 
and as Hermes came near, he heard her singing one of her magic 

She was before a loom weaving the threads with a golden 
shuttle. Now she knew Hermes and was pleased to see him on 
her Island, but as soon as he spoke of Odysseus and how it was 
the will of Zeus that he should be permitted to leave the Island, 
her song ceased and the golden shuttle fell from her hand. 

'Woe to me,' she said, 'and woe to any immortal who loves 
a mortal, for the gods are always jealous of their love. I do not 
hold him here because I hate Odysseus, but because I love him 
greatly, and would have him dwell with me here, — more than 
this, Hermes, I would make him an immortal so that he would 
know neither old age nor death.' 

'He does not desire to be freed from old age and death,' said 
Hermes, 'he desires to return to his own land and to hve with 
his dear wife, Penelope, and his son, Telemachus. And Zeus, the 
greatest of the gods, commands that you let him go upon his way.' 

'I have no ship to give him,' said Calypso, 'and I have no 
company of men to help him to cross the sea.' 

*He must leave the Island and cross the sea — Zeus com- 
mands it,' Hermes said. 

' I must help him to make his way across the sea if it must be 
so,' Calypso said. Then she bowed her head and Hermes went 
from her. 



Straightway Calypso left her cave and went down to the sea. 
By the shore Odysseus stayed, looking across the wide sea with 
tears in his eyes. 

She came to him and she said, 'Be not sorrowful any more, 
Odysseus. The time has come when thou mayst depart from 
my Island. Come now. I will show how I can help thee on thy 

HE brought him to the side of the Island 
where great trees grew and she put in his 
hands a double-edged axe and an adze. 
Then Odysseus started to hew down the 
timber. Twenty trees he felled with his 
axe of bronze, and he smoothed them and 
made straight the line. Calypso came to 
him at the dawn of the next day ; she brought augers for boring 
and he made the beams fast. He built a raft, making it very 
broad, and set a mast upon it and fixed a rudder to guide it. 
To make it more secure, he wove out of osier rods a fence that 
went from stem to stern as a bulwark against the waves, and 
he strengthened the bulwark with wood placed behind. Calypso 
wove him a web of cloth for sails, and these he made very 
skilfully. Then he fastened the braces and the halyards and 
sheets, and he pushed the raft with levers down to the sea. 

That was on the fourth day. On the fifth Calypso gave him 
garments for the journey and brought provision down to the raft 
— two skins of wine and a great skin of water ; corn and many 



dainties. She showed Odysseus how to guide his course by the 
star that some call the Bear and others the Wain, and she bade 
farewell to him. He took his place on the raft and set his sail 
to the breeze and he sailed away from Ogygia, the island where 
Calypso had held him for so long. 

But not easily or safely did he make his way across the sea. 
The winds blew upon his raft and the waves dashed against it ; 
a fierce blast came and broke the mast in the middle ; the sail and 
the arm-yard fell into the deep. Then Odysseus was flung down 
on the bottom of the raft. For a long time he lay there over- 
whelmed by the water that broke over him. The winds drove 
the raft to and fro — the South wind tossed it to the North to 
bear along, and the East wind tossed it to the West to chase. 

In the depths of the sea there was a Nymph who saw his toils 
and his troubles and who had pity upon him. Ino was her name. 
She rose from the waves in the likeness of a seagull and she sat 
upon the raft and she spoke to Odysseus in words. 

'Hapless man/ she said, 'Poseidon, the god of the sea, is 
still wroth with thee. It may be that the waters will destroy 
the raft upon which thou sailest. Then there would be no hope 
for thee. But do what I bid thee and thou shalt yet escape. 
Strip off thy garments and take this veil from me and wind it 
around thy breast. As long as it is upon thee thou canst not 
drown. But when thou reachest the mainland loose the veil and 
cast it into the sea so that it may come back to me.^ 

She gave him the veil, and then, in the likeness of a seagull 


she dived into the sea and the waves closed over her. Odysseus 
took the veil and wound it around his breast, but he would not 
leave the raft as long as its timbers held together. 

Then a great wave came and shattered the raft. He held 
himself on a single beam as one holds himself on a horse, and then, 
with the veil bound across his breast, he threw himself into the 

For two nights and two days he was tossed about on the 
waters. When on the third day the dawn came and the winds 
fell he saw land very near. He swam eagerly towards it. But 
when he drew nearer he heard the crash of waves as they struck 
against rocks that were all covered with foam. Then indeed 
was Odysseus afraid. 

A great wave took hold of him and flung him towards the shore. 
Now would his bones have been broken upon the rocks if he had 
not been ready-minded enough to rush towards a rock and to 
cling to it with both hands until the wave dashed by. Its 
backward drag took him and carried him back to the deep with 
the skin stripped from his hands. The waves closed over him. 
When he rose again he swam round looking for a place where 
there might be, not rocks, but some easy opening into the land. 

At last he saw the mouth of a river. He swam towards it until 
he felt its stream flowing through the water of the sea. Then in 
his heart he prayed to the river. 'Hear me, O River,' was what 
he said, 'I am come to thee as a suppliant, fleeing from the anger 
of Poseidon^ god of the sea. Even by the gods is the man 


pitied who comes to them as a wanderer and a hapless man. 1 
am thy suppHant, O River ; pity me and help me in my need/ 

Now the river water was smooth for his swimming, and he 
came safely to its mouth. He came to a place where he might 
land, but with his flesh swollen and streams of salt water gushing 
from his mouth and nostrils. He lay on the ground without 
breath or speech, swooning with the terrible weariness that was 
upon him. But in a while his breath came back to him and his 
courage rose. He remembered the veil that the Sea-nymph had 
given him and he loosened it and let it fall back into the flowing 
river. A wave came and bore it back to Ino who caught it in 
her hands. 

But Odysseus was still fearful, and he said in his heart, 'Ah 
me ! what is to befall me now ? Here am I, naked and forlorn, and 
I know not amongst what people I am come. And what shall 
I do with myself when night comes on ? If I He by the river in 
the frost and dew I may perish of the cold. And if I climb up 
yonder to the woods and seek refuge in the thickets I may become 
the prey of wild beasts.' 

He went from the cold of the river up to the woods, and he 
found two olive trees growing side by side, twining together 
so that they made a shelter against the winds. He went and lay 
between them upon a bed of leaves, and with leaves he covered 
himself over. There in that shelter, and with that warmth he 
lay, and sleep came on him, and at last he rested from perils and 




ND while he rested the goddess, Pallas 
Athene, went to the City of the Phaea- 
cians, to whose land Odysseus had now 

She came to the Palace of the King, 
and, passing through all the doors, came 
to the chamber where the King's daughter, 
Nausicaa slept. She entered into Nausicaa's dream, appearing 
to her in it as one of her girl-comrades. And in the dream 
she spoke to the Princess : 

'Nausicaa,' she said, Hhe garments of your household are 
all uncared for, and the time is near when, more than ever, you 
have need to have much and beautiful raiment. Your marriage 
day will be soon. You will have to have many garments ready 
by that time — garments to bring with you to your husband's 
house, and garments to give to those who will attend you at your 
wedding. There is much to be done, Nausicaa. Be ready at 
the break of day, and take your maidens with you, and bring 
the garments of your household to the river to be washed. 
I will be your mate in the toil. Beg your father to give you 
a wagon with mules to carry all the garments that we have 
need to wash.' 

So in her dream Pallas Athene spoke to the Princess in the 
likeness of her girl-friend. Having put the task of washing into 


(ler mind, the goddess left the Palace of the King and the coun- 
try of the Phaeacians. 

Nausicaa, when she rose, thought upon her dream, and she went 
through the Palace and found her father. He was going to the 
assembly of the Phaeacians. She came to him, but she was shy 
about speaking of that which had been in her dream — her mar- 
riage day — since her parents had not spoken to her about such a 
thing. Saying that she was going to the river to wash the garments 
of the household, she asked for a wagon and for mules. 'So 
many garments have I lying soiled,' she said. ' Yea, and thou too, 
my father, should have fresh raiment when you go forth to the 
assembly of the Phaeacians. And in our house are the two 
unwedded youths, my brothers, who are always eager for new 
washed garments wherein to go to dances.' 

Her father smiled on her and said, 'The mules and wagon 
thou mayst have, Nausicaa, and the servants shall get them 
ready for thee now.' 

He called to the servants and bade them get ready the mules 
and the wagon. Then Nausicaa gathered her maids together 
and they brought the soiled garments of the household to the 
wagon. And her mother, so that Nausicaa and her maids might 
eat while they were from home, put in a basket filled with 
dainties and a skin of wine. Also she gave them a jar of 
olive-oil so that they might rub themselves with oil when 
bathing in the river. 

Young Nausicaa herself drove tho wagon. She mounted it 


and took the whip in her hands and started the mules, and they 
went through fields and by farms and came to the river-bank. 

The girls brought the garments to the stream, and leaving 
them in the shallow parts trod them with their bare feet. The 
wagon was unharnessed and the mules were left to graze along 
the river side. Now when they had washed the garments they 
took them to the sea-shore and left them on the clean pebbles 
to dry in the sun. • Then Nausicaa and her companions went into 
the river and bathed and sported in the water. 

When they had bathed they sat down and ate the meal that 
had been put on the wagon for them. The garments were not 
yet dried and Nausicaa called on her companions to play. 
Straightway they took a ball and threw it from one to the other, 
each singing a song that went with the game. And as they 
played on the meadow they made a lovely company, and the 
Princess Nausicaa was the tallest and fairest and noblest of 
them all. 

Before they left the river side to load the wagon they played 
a last game. The Princess threw the ball, and the girl whose 
turn it was to catch missed it. The ball went into the river and 
was carried down the stream. At that they all raised a cry. It 
was this cry that woke up Odysseus who, covered over with 
leaves, was then sleeping in the shelter of the two oHve trees. 

He crept out from under the thicket, covering his nakedness 
with leafy boughs that he broke off the trees. And when he saw 
the girls in the meadow he wanted to go to them to beg for their 



help. But when they looked on him they were terribly frightened 
and they ran this way and that way and hid themselves. Only 
Nausicaa stood still, for Pallas Athene had taken fear from her 

Odysseus stood a little way from her and spoke to her in a 
beseeching voice. 'I supphcate thee, lady, to help me in my 
bitter need. I would kneel to thee and clasp thy knees only I 
fear thine anger. Have pity upon me. Yesterday was the 
twentieth day that I was upon the sea, driven hither and thither 
by the waves and the winds.' 

ND still Nausicaa stood, and Odysseus 
looking upon her was filled with reverence 
for her, so noble she seemed. ' I know not 
as I look upon thee,' he said, 'whether 
thou art a goddess or a mortal maiden. 
If thou art a mortal maiden, happy must 
thy father be and thy mother and thy 
brothers. Surely they must be proud and glad to see thee in 
the dance, for thou art the very flower of maidens. And happy 
above all will he be who will lead thee to his home as his bride. 
Never have my eyes beheld one who had such beauty and such 
nobleness. I think thou art like to the young palm-tree I once 
saw springing up by the altar of Apollo in Delos — a tree that 
many marvelled to look at. O lady, after many and sore trials, 
to thee, first of all the people, have I come. I know that thou 
wilt be gracious to me. Show me the way to the town. Give 


me an old garment to cast about me. And may the gods grant 
thee thy wish and heart's desire — a noble husband who will 
cherish thee.' 

She spoke to him as a Princess should, seeing that in spite of 
the evil pHght he was in, he was a man of worth. 'Stranger,' 
she said, ' since thou hast come to our land, thou shalt not lack 
for raiment nor aught else that is given to a suppHant. I will 
show thee the way to the town also.' 

He asked what land he was in. 'This, stranger,' she said, 
'is the land of the Phaeacians, and Alcinous is King over them. 
And I am the King's daughter, Nausicaa.' 

Then she called to her companions. 'Do not hide yourselves,' 
she said. ' This is not an enemy, but a helpless and an unfriended 
man. We must befriend him, for it is well said that the stranger 
and the beggar are from God.' 

The girls came back and they brought Odysseus to a sheltered 
place and they made him sit down and laid a garment beside him. 
One brought the jar of ohve oil that he might clean himself when 
he bathed in the river. And Odysseus was very glad to get this 
oil for his back and shoulders were all crusted over with flakes of 
brine. He went into the river and bathed and rubbed himself 
with the oil. Then he put on the garment that had been brought 
him. So well he looked that when he came towards them again 
the Princess said to the maids : 

'Look now on the man who a while ago seemed so terrifying! 
He is most handsome and stately. Would that we might see 


more of him. Now, my maidens, bring the stranger meat and 

They came to him and they served him with meat and drink 
and he ate and drank eagerly, for it was long since he had tasted 
food. And while he ate, Nausicaa and her companions went down 
to the seashore and gathered the garments that were now dried, 
singing songs the while. They harnessed the mules and folded 
the garments and left them on the wagon. 

When they were ready to go Nausicaa went to Odysseus and 
said to him, ' Stranger, if thou wouldst make thy way into the city 
come with us now, so that we may guide thee. But first listen 
to what I would say. While we are going through the fields 
and by the farms walk thou behind, keeping near the wagon. 
But when we enter the ways of the City, go no further with us. 
People might speak unkindly of me if they saw me with a stranger 
such as thou. They might say, " Who does Nausicaa bring to 
her father's house? Someone she would Hke to make her hus- 
band, most likely." So that we may not meet with such rudeness 
I would have thee come alone to my father's house. Listen now 
and I will tell thee how thou mayst do this.' 

* There is a grove kept for the goddess Pallas Athene within 
a man's shout of the city. In that grove is a spring, and when we 
come near I would have thee go and rest thyself by it. Then 
when thou dost think we have come to my father's house, enter 
the City and ask thy way to the palace of the King. When thou 
hast come to it, pass quickly through the court and through the 



great chamber and come to where my mother sits weavmg yam 
by the hght of the fire. My father will be sitting near, drinking 
his wine in the evening. Pass by his seat and come to my mother, 
and clasp your hands about her knees and ask for her aid. If 
she become friendly to thee thou wilt be helped by our people 
and wilt be given the means of returning to thine own land.' 

So Nausicaa bade him. Then she touched the mules with the 
whip and the wagon went on. Odysseus walked with the maids 
behind. As the sun set they came to the grove that was outside 
the City — ■ the grove of Pallas Athene. Odysseus went into it 
and sat by the spring. And while he was in her grove he prayed 
to the goddess, 'Hear me, Pallas Athene, and grant that I may 
come before the King of this land as one well worthy of his pity 
and his help.* 


BOUT the time that the maiden Nausicaa 
had come to her father's house, Odysseus 
rose up from where he sat by the spring 
in the grove of Pallas Athene and went 
into the City. There he met one who 
showed him the way to the palace of King 
Alcinous. The doors of that palace were 
golden and the door-posts were of silver. And there was a gar- 
den by the great door filled with fruitful trees — pear trees and 
pomegranates; apple trees and trees bearing figs and oHves, 


Below it was a vineyard showing clusters of grapes. That 
orchard and that vineyard were marvels, for in them never 
fruit fell or was gathered but other fruit ripened to take its 
place ; from season to season there was fruit for the gathering 
in the king's close. 

Odysseus stood before the threshold of bronze and many 
thoughts were in his mind. But at last with a prayer to Zeus 
he crossed the threshold and went through the great hall. Now 
on that evening the Captains and the Councillors of the Phae- 
acians sat drinking wine with the King. Odysseus passed by 
them, and stayed not at the King's chair, but went where Arete, 
the Queen, sat. And he knelt before her and clasped her knees 
with his hands and spoke to her in supplication : 

'Arete, Queen! After many toils and perils I am come to 
thee and to thy husband, and to these, thy guests ! May the 
gods give all who are here a happy life and may each see his 
children in safe possession of his halls. I have come to thee to 
beg that thou wouldst put me on my way to my o^\^l land, for 
long have I suffered sore afHiction far from my friends.' 

Then, having spoken, Odysseus went and sat down in the ashes 
of the hearth with his head bowed. No one spoke for long. 
Then an aged Councillor who was there spoke to the King. 

'O Alcinous,' he said, 'it is not right that a stranger should 
sit in the ashes by thy hearth. Bid the stranger rise now and 
let a chair be given him and supper set before him.' 

Then Alcinous took Odysseus by the hand, and raised him 


from where he sat, and bade his son Laodamas give place to him, 
He sat on a chair inlaid with silver and the housedame brought 
him bread and wine and dainties. He ate, and King Alcinous 
spoke to the company and said : 

'To-morrow I shall call you together and we will entertain 
this stranger with a feast in our halls, and we shall take counsel 
to see in what way we can convoy him to his own land.' 

The Captains and Councillors assented to this, and then each 
one arose and went to his own house. Odysseus was left alone 
in the hall with the King and the Queen. Now Arete, looking 
closely at Odysseus, recognized the mantle he wore, for she herself 
had wrought it with her handmaids. And when all the company 
had gone she spoke to Odysseus and said : 

'Stranger, who art thou? Didst thou not speak of coming 
to us from across the deep ? And if thou didst come that way, 
who gave thee the raiment that thou hast on ? ' 

AID Odysseus, 'Lady, for seven and ten 
days I sailed across the deep, and on the 
eighteenth day I sighted the hills of thy 
land. But my woes were not yet ended. 
The storm winds shattered my raft, and 
when I strove to land the waves over- 
whelmed me and dashed me against great 
rocks in a desolate place. At length I came to a river, and 
I swam through its mouth and I found a shelter from the wind. 
There I lay amongst the leaves all the night long and from 


dawn to mid-day. Then came thy daughter down to the river. 
I was aware of her playing with her friends, and to her I 
made my suppHcation. She gave me bread and wine, and she 
bestowed these garments upon me, and she showed an under- 
standing that was far beyond her years.* 

Then said Alcinous the King, 'Our daughter did not do well 
when she did not bring thee straight to our house.' 

Odysseus said, 'My Lord, do not blame the maiden. She 
bade me follow with her company, and she was only careful that 
no one should have cause to make ill-judged remarks upon the 
stranger whom she found.' 

Then Alcinous, the King, praised Odysseus and said that he 
should like such a man to abide in his house and that he would 
give him land and wealth, in the country of the Phaeacians. 
'But if it is not thy will to abide with us,' he said, 'I shall give 
thee a ship and a company of men to take thee to thy own land, 
even if that land be as far as Euboea, which, our men say, is the 
farthest of all lands.' As he said this Odysseus uttered a prayer 
in his heart, ' O Father Zeus, grant that Alcinous the King may 
fulfil all that he has promised — and for that may his fame never 
be quenched — ■ and that I may come to my own land.' 

Arete now bade the maids prepare a bed for Odysseus. This 
they did, casting warm coverlets and purple blankets upon it. 
And when Odysseus came to the bed and lay in it, after the tossing 
of the waves, rest in it seemed wonderfully good. 

At dawn of day he went with the King to the assembly of tlie 


Phasacians. When the Prmces and Cap tarns and Councillors 
were gathered together, Alcinous spoke to them saying : 

'Princes and Captains and Councillors of the Phaeacians! 
This stranger has come to my house in his wanderings, and he 
desires us to give him a ship and a company of men, so that he 
may cross the sea and come to his own land. Let us, as in times 
past we have done for others, help him in his journey. Nay, 
let us even now draw down a black ship to the sea, and put 
two and fifty of our noblest youths upon it, and let us make 
it ready for the voyage. But before he departs from amongst 
us, come all of you to a feast that I shall give to this stranger 
in my house. And moreover, let us take with us the minstrel 
of our land, bhnd Demodocus, that his songs may make us glad 
at the feast.' 

So the King spoke, and the Princes, Captains and Councillors 
of the Phasacians went with him to the palace. And at the same 
time two and fifty youths went down to the shore of the sea, and 
drew down a ship and placed the masts and sails upon it, and left 
the oars in their leathern loops. Having done all this they went 
to the palace where the feast was being given and where many 
men had gathered. 

The henchman led in the minstrel, blind Demodocus. To 
him the gods had given a good and an evil fortune — the gift of 
song with the lack of sight. The henchman led him through the 
company, and placed him on a seat inlaid with silver, and hung 
his lyre on the pillar above his seat. When the guests and the 


minstrel had feasted, blind Demodocus took down the lyre and 
sang of things that were already famous — of the deeds of 
Achilles and Odysseus. 

Now when he heard the words that the minstrel uttered, 
Odysseus caught up his purple cloak and drew it over his head. 
Tears were falling down his cheeks and he was ashamed of their 
being seen. No one marked his weeping except the King, and 
the King wondered why his guest should be so moved by what 
the minstrel related. 

When they had feasted and the minstrel had sung to them, 
Alcinous said, 'Let us go forth now and engage in games and 
sports so that our stranger guest may tell his friends when he is 
amongst them what our young men can do.' 

All went out from the palace to the place where the games 
were played. There was a foot-race, and there was a boxing- 
match, and there was wrestling and weight- throwing. All the 
youths present went into the games. And when the sports 
were ending Laodamas, the son of King Alcinous, said to his 
friends : 

' Come, my friends, and let us ask the stranger whether he is 
skilled or practised in any sport.' And sa3dng this he went to 
Odysseus and said, ' Friend and stranger, come now and try thy 
skill in the games. Cast care away from thee, for thy journey 
shall not be long delayed. Even now the ship is drawn down to 
the sea, and we have with us the company of youths that is ready 
to help thee to thine own land.' 

■^- i. 



Said Odysseus, 'Sorrow is nearer to my heart than sport, for 
much have I endured in times that are not far past/ 

Then a youth who was with Laodamas, Euryalus, who had 
won in the wrestHng bout, said insolently, ' Laodamas is surely 
mistaken in thinking that thou shouldst be proficient in sports. 
As I look at thee I think that thou art one who makes voyages 
for gain — a trader whose only thought is for his cargo and his 

Then said Odysseus with anger. * Thou hast not spoken well, 
young man. Thou hast beauty surely, but thou hast not grace 
of manner nor speech. And thou hast stirred the spirit in my 
breast by speaking to me in such words.' 

Thereupon, clad as he was in his mantle, Odysseus sprang up 
and took a weight that was larger than any yet lifted, and mth 
one whirl he flung it from his hands. Beyond all marks it flew, 
and one who was standing far off cried out, ' Even a blind man, 
stranger, might know that thy weight need not be confused with 
the others, but lies far beyond them. In this bout none of the 
Phaeacians can surpass thee.' 

And Odysseus, turning to the youths, said, 'Let who will, pass 
that throw. And if any of you would try with me in boxing or 
wrestling or even in the foot-race, let him stand forward — any- 
one except Laodamas, for he is of the house that has befriended 
me. A rude man he would surely be who should strive with his 

All kept silence. Then Alcinous the King said, ' So that thou 



shalt have something to tell thy friends when thou art in thine 
own land, we shall show thee the games in which we are most 
skilful. For we Phaeacians are not perfect boxers or wrestlers, 
but we excel all in running and in dancing and in puUing with 
the oar. Lo, now, ye dancers ! Come forward and show your 
nimbleness, so that the stranger may tell his friends, when he is 
amongst them, how far we surpass all men in dancing as well as 
in seamanship and speed of foot.' 

PLACE was levelled for the dance, and 
the blind minstrel, Demodocus, took the 
lyre in his hands and made music, while 
youths skilled in the dance struck the 
ground with their feet. Odysseus as he 
watched them marvelled at their grace 
and their spirit. When the dance was 
ended he said to the King, 'My Lord Alcinous, thou didst 
boast thy dancers to be the best in the world, and thy word 
is not to be denied. I wonder as I look upon them.' 

At the end of the day Alcinous spoke to his people and said, 
'This stranger, in all that he does and says, shows himself to be 
a wise and a mighty man. Let each of us now give him the 
stranger's gift. Here there are twelve princes of the Phaeacians 
and I am the thirteenth. Let each of us give him a worthy gift, 
and then let us go back to my house and sit down to supper. As 
for Euryalus, let him make amends to the stranger for his rude- 
ness of speech as he offers him his gift.' 


All assented to the King's words, and Euryalus went to Odys- 
seus and said, 'Stranger, if I have spoken aught that offended 
thee, may the storm winds snatch it and bear it away. May 
the gods grant that thou shalt see thy wife and come to thins 
own country. Too long hast thou endured afflictions away from 
thy friends.' 

So saying, Euryalus gave Odysseus a sword of bronze with a 
silver hilt and a sheath of ivory. Odysseus took it and said, 
'And to you, my friend, may the gods grant all happiness, and 
mayst thou never miss the sword that thou hast given me. Thy 
gracious speech hath made full amends.' 

Each of the twelve princes gave gifts to Odysseus, and the gifts 
were brought to the palace and left by the side of the Queen. 
And Arete herself gave Odysseus a beautiful coffer with raiment 
and gold in it, and Alcinous, the King, gave him a beautiful cup, 
all of gold. 

In the palace the bath was prepared for Odysseus, and he 
entered it and was glad of the warm water, for not since he had 
left the Island of Calypso did he have a warm bath. He came 
from the bath and put on the beautiful raiment that had been 
given him and he walked through the hall, looking a king amongst 

Now the maiden, Nausicaa, stood by a pillar as he passed, and 
she knew that she had never looked upon a man who was more 
splendid. She had thought that the stranger whom she had 
saved would have stayed in her father's house, and that one day 


he would be her husband. But now she knew that by no means 
would he abide in the land of the Phaeacians. As he passed by, 
she spoke to him and said, ' Farewell, O Stranger ! And when 
thou art in thine own country, think sometimes of me, Nausicaa, 
who helped thee/ Odysseus took her hand and said to her, 
'Farewell, daughter of King Alcinous ! May Zeus grant that 
I may return to my own land. There every day shall I pay 
homage to my memory of thee, to whom I owe my hfe.' 

He passed on and he came to where the Princes and Captains 
and Councillors of the Phaeacians sat. His seat was beside the 
King's. Then the henchman brought in the minstrel, bhnd 
Demodocus, and placed him on a seat by a pillar. And when 
supper was served Odysseus sent to Demodocus a portion of his 
own meat. He spoke too in praise of the minstrel saying, 
'Right well dost thou sing of the Greeks and all they wrought 
and suffered — as well, methinks, as if thou hadst been present 
at the war of Troy. I would ask if thou canst sing of the Wooden 
Horse that brought destruction to the Trojans. If thou canst, 
I shall be a witness amongst all men how the gods have surely 
given thee the gift of song.* 

Demodocus took down the lyre and sang. His song told how 
one part of the Greeks sailed away in their ships and how others 
with Odysseus to lead them were now in the center of Priam's 
City all hidden in the great Wooden Horse which the Trojans 
themselves had dragged across their broken wall. So the 
Wooden Horse stood, and the people gathered around talked of 


what should be done with so wonderful a thing — whether tc 
break open its timbers, or drag it to a steep hill and hurl it down 
on the rocks, or leave it there as an offering to the gods. As an 
offering to the gods it was left at last. Then the minstrel sang 
how Odysseus and his comrades poured forth from the hollow 
of the horse and took the City. 

As the minstrel sang, the heart of Odysseus melted within him 
and tears fell down his cheeks. None of the company saw him 
weeping except Alcinous the King. But the King cried out to 
the company saying, 'Let the minstrel cease, for there is one 
amongst us to whom his song is not pleasing. Ever since it 
began the stranger here has wept with tears flowing down his 

The minstrel ceased, and all the company looked in surprise at 
Odysseus, who sat with his head bowed and his mantle wrapped 
around his head. Why did he weep? each man asked. No 
one had asked of him his name, for each thought it was m.ore 
noble to serve a stranger without knowing his name. 

Said the King, speaking again, 'In a brother's place stands 
the stranger and the suppUant, and as a brother art thou to us, 
O unknown guest. But wilt thou not be brotherly to us ? Tell 
us by what name they call thee in thine own land. Tell us, too, 
of thy land and thy city. And tell us, too, where thou wert borne 
on thy wanderings, and to what lands and peoples thou camest. 
And as a brother tell us why thou dost weep and mourn in spirit 
over the tale of the going forth of the Greeks to the war of Troy. 



Didst thou have a kinsman who fell before Priam's City — a 
daughter's husband, or a wife's father, or someone nearer by 
blood? Or didst thou have a loving friend who fell there 
— one with an understanding heart who wast to thee as a 

Such questions the King asked, and Odysseus taking the 
mantle from around his head turned round to the company. 


|HEN Odysseus spoke before the company 
and said, 'O Alcinous, famous King, it is 
good to listen to a minstrel such as Demo- 
docus is. And as for me, I know of no 
greater delight than when men feast to- 
gether with open hearts, when tables are 
plentifully spread, when wine-bearers pour 
out good wine into cups, and when a minstrel sings to them 
noble songs. This seems to me to be happiness indeed. But 
thou hast asked me to speak of my wanderings and my toils. 
Ah, where can I begin that tale? For the gods have given 
me more woes than a man can speak of ! ' 

'But first of all I will declare to you my name and my country. 
I am Odysseus, son of Laertes, and my land is Ithaka, an 
island around which many islands lie. Ithaka is a rugged isle, 
but a good nurse of hardy men, and I, for one, have found that 
there is no place fairer than a man's own land. But now I 


will tell thee, King, and tell the Princes and Captains and 
Councillors of the Phseacians, the tale of my wanderings.' 

'The wind bore my ships from the coast of Troy, and with 
our white sails hoisted we came to the cape that is called Malea. 
Now if we had been able to double this cape we should soon have 
come to our own country, all unhurt. But the north wind came 
and swept us from our course and drove us wandering past 

*Then for nine days we were borne onward by terrible winds, 
and away from all known lands. On the tenth day we came to 
a strange country. Many of my men landed there. The people 
of that land were harmless and friendly, but the land itself was 
most dangerous. For there grew there the honey-sweet fruit 
of the lotus that makes all men forgetful of their past and 
neglectful of their future. And those of my men who ate 
the lotus that the dwellers of that land offered them became 
forgetful of their country and of the way before them. They 
wanted to abide forever in the land of the lotus. They wept when 
they thought of all the toils before them and of all they had en- 
dured. I led them back to the ships, and I had to place them 
beneath the benches and leave them in bonds. And I commanded 
those who had ate of the lotus to go at once aboard the ships. 
Then, when I had got all my men upon the ships, we made haste 
to sail away.^ 

* Later we came to the land of the Cyclopes, a giant people. 
There is a waste island outside the harbour of their land, and on 



it there is a well of bright water that has poplars growing round 
it. We came to that empty island, and we beached our ships 
and took down our sails.' 

' As soon as the dawn came we went through the empty island, 
starting the wild goats that were there in flocks, and shooting 
them with our arrows. We killed so many wild goats there 
that we had nine for each ship. Afterwards we looked across 
to the land of the Cyclopes, and we heard the sound of voices 
and saw the smoke of fires and heard the bleating of flocks of 
sheep and goats.' 

'I called my companions together and I said, ''It would be 
well for some of us to go to that other island. With my own 
ship and with the company that is on it I shall go there. The 
rest of you abide here. I will find out what manner of men live 
there, and whether they will treat us kindly and give us gifts 
that are due to strangers — gifts of provisions for our voyage." ' 
E embarked and we came to the land. 
There was a cave near the sea, and round 
the cave there were mighty flocks of 
sheep and goats. I took twelve men with 
me and I left the rest to guard the ship. 
We went into the cave and found no 
man there. There were baskets filled with 
cheeses, and vessels of whey, and pails and bowls of milk. My 
men wanted me to take some of the cheeses and drive off some 
of the lambs and kids and come away. But this I would not 


do, for I would rather that he who owned the stores would 
give us of his own free will the offerings that were due to 

'While we were in the cave, he whose dwelling it was, returned 
to it. He carried on his shoulder a great pile of wood for his 
fire. Never in our Hves did we see a creature so frightful as 
this Cyclops was. He was a giant in size, and, what made him 
terrible to behold, he had but one eye, and that single eye was 
in his forehead. He cast down on the ground the pile of wood 
that he carried, making such a din that we fled in terror into the 
corners and recesses of the cave. Next he drove his flocks into 
the cave and began to milk his ewes and goats. And when he 
had the flocks within, he took up a stone that not all our strengths 
could move and set it as a door to the mouth of the cave.' 

'The Cyclops kindled his fire, and when it blazed up he saw 
us in the corners and recesses. He spoke to us. We knew not 
what he said, but our hearts were shaken with terror at the 
sound of his deep voice.' 

'I spoke to him saying that we were Agamemnon's men on 
our way home from the taking of Priam's City, and I begged 
him to deal with us kindly, for the sake of Zeus who is ever in 
the company of strangers and suppliants. But he answered me 
saying, "We Cyclopes pay no heed to Zeus, nor to any of thy 
gods. In our strength and our power we deem that we are 
mightier than they. I will not spare thee, neither will I give 
thee aught for the sake of Zeus, but only as my own spirit bids 


me. And first I would have thee tell me how you came to oui 

'I knew it would be better not to let the Cyclops know that 
my ship and my companions were at the harbour of the island. 
Therefore I spoke to him guilefully, telling him that my ship had 
been broken on the rocks, and that I and the men with me were 
the only ones who had escaped utter doom.' 

'I begged again that he would deal with us as just men deal 
with strangers and suppliants, but he, without saying a word, 
laid hands upon two of my men, and swinging them by the legs, 
dashed their brains out on the earth. He cut them to pieces 
and ate them before our very eyes. We wept and we prayed to 
Zeus as we witnessed a deed so terrible.' 

'Next the Cyclops stretched himself amongst his sheep and 
went to sleep beside the fire. Then I debated whether I should 
take my sharp sword in my hand, and feeling where his heart 
was, stab him there. But second thoughts held me back from 
doing this. I might be able to kill him as he slept, but not even 
with my companions could I roll away the great stone that 
closed the mouth of the cave.' 

'Dawn came, and the Cyclops awakened, kindled his fire and 
milked his flocks. Then he seized two others of my men and 
made ready for his mid-day meal. And now he rolled away the 
great stone and drove his flocks out of the cave.' 

*I had pondered on a way of escape, and I had thought of 
something that might be done to baffle the Cyclops. I had ^\ith 


me a great skin of sweet wine, and I thought that if I could make 
him drunken with wine I and my companions might be able for 
him. But there were other preparations to be made first. On 
the floor of the cave there was a great beam of olive wood which 
the Cyclops had cut to make a club when the wood should be 
seasoned. It was yet green. I and my companions went and 
cut off a fathom's length of the wood, and sharpened it to a point 
and took it to the fire and hardened it in the glow. Then I hid 
the beam in a recess of the cave.' 

'The Cyclops came back in the evening, and opening up the 
cave drove in his flocks. Then he closed the cave again with 
the stone and went and milked his ewes and his goats. Again 
he seized two of my companions. I went to the terrible creature 
with a bowl of wine in my hands. He took it and drank it and 
cried out, '' Give me another bowl of this, and tell me thy name 
that I may give thee gifts for bringing me this honey-tasting 
drink." ' 

'Again I spoke to him guilefully and said, ''Noman is my 
name. Noman my father and my mother call me." ' 

'"Give me more of the drink, Noman," he shouted. "And 
the gift that I shall give to thee is that I shall make thee the last 
of thy fellows to be eaten." ' 

'I gave him wine again, and when he had taken the third bowl 
he sank backwards with his face upturned, and sleep came upon 
him. Then I, with four companions, took that beam of olive 
wood, now made into a hard and pointed stake, and thrust it into 



the ashes of the fire. When the pointed end began to glow we 
drew it out of the flame. Then I and my companions laid hold 
on the great stake and, dashing at the Cyclops, thrust it into his 
eye. He raised a terrible cry that made the rocks ring and we 
dashed aw^ay into the recesses of the cave.' 

IS cries brought other Cyclopes to the 
mouth of the cave, and they, naming him 
as Polyphemus, called out and asked Mm 
what ailed him to cry. "Neman," he 
shrieked out, "Noman is slaying me by 
guile." They answered him saying, '' If 
no man is slajring thee, there is nothing w^e 
can do for thee, Polyphemus. What ails thee has been sent to 
thee by the gods." Saying this, they went away from the 
mouth of the cave without attempting to move away the stone' 
'Polyphemus then, groaning with pain, rolled away the stone 
and sat before the mouth of the cave with his hands outstretched, 
thinking that he would catch us as we dashed out. I showed my 
companions how we might pass by him. I laid hands on certain 
rams of the flock and I lashed three of them together with supple 
rods. Then on the middle ram I put a man of my company. 
Thus every three rams carried a man. As soon as the dawn had 
come the rams hastened out to the pasture, and, as they passed, 
Polyphemus laid hands on the first and the third of each three 
that went by. They passed out and Pol3rphemus did not guess 
that a ram that he did not touch carried out a man.' 


* For myself, I took a ram that was the strongest and fleeciest 
of the whole flock and I placed myself under him, clinging to 
the wool of his belly. As this ram, the best of all his flock, 
went by, Polyphemus, laying his hands upon him, said, " Would 
that you, the best of my flock, were endowed with speech, so 
that you might tell me where Noman, who has blinded me, 
has hidden himself." The ram went by him, and when he had 
gone a Httle way from the cave I loosed myself from him and 
went and set my companions free.' 

'We gathered together many of Polyphemus' sheep and we 
drove them do\vTi to our ship. The men we had left behind 
would have wept when they heard what had happened to six of 
their companions. But I bade them take on board the sheep 
we had brought and pull the ship away from that land. Then 
when we had drawn a certain distance from the shore I could 
not forbear to shout my taunts into the cave of Polyphemus. 
" Cyclops," I cried, " you thought that you had the company 
of a fool and a weakhng to eat. But you have been worsted by 
me, and your evil deeds have been punished." ' 

'Sol shouted, and Polyphemus came to the mouth of the cav£ 
with great anger in his heart. He took up rocks and cast them 
at the ship and they fell before the prow. The men bent to the 
oars and pulled the ship away or it would have been broken by the 
rocks he cast. And when we were further away I shouted to him : 

* " Cyclops, if any man should ask who it was set his mark 
upon you, say that he was Odysseus, the son of Laertes." ' 



' Then I heard Polyphemus cry out, "I call upon Poseidon, the 
god of the sea, whose son I am, to avenge me upon you, Odys- 
seus. I call upon Poseidon to grant that you, Odysseus, may 
never come to your home, or if the gods have ordained your 
return, that you come to it after much toil and suffering, in an 
evil phght and in a stranger's ship, to find sorrow in your home." ' 

'So Polyphemus prayed, and, to my evil fortune, Poseidon 
heard his prayer. But we went on in our ship rejoicing at our 
escape. We came to the waste island where my other ships 
were. All the company rejoiced to see us, although they had to 
mourn for their six companions slain by Polyphemus. We 
divided amongst the ships the sheep we had taken from Polyphe- 
mus' flock and we sacrificed to the gods. At the dawn of the 
next day we raised the sails on each ship and we sailed away.' 

not try 

E came to the Island where ^olus, the Lord 
of the Winds, he who can give mariners 
a good or a bad wind, has his dwelling. 
With his six sons and his six daughters 
^olus lives on a floating island that has 
all around it a wall of bronze. And when 
we came to his island, the Lord of the 

treated us kindly and kept us at his dwelling for a 
Now when the time came for us to leave, ^Eolus did 

to hold us on the island. And to me, when I was going 


down to the ships, he gave a bag made from the hide of an ox, 
and in that bag were all the winds that blow. He made the 
mouth of the bag fast with a silver thong, so that no wind that 
might drive us from our course could escape. Then he sent the 
West Wind to blow on our sails that we might reach our own 
land as quickly as a ship might go.' 

*For nine days we sailed with the West Wind driving us, and 
on the tenth day we came in sight of Ithaka, our own land. We 
saw its coast and the beacon fires upon the coast and the people 
tending the fixes. Then I thought that the curse of the Cyclops 
was vain and could bring no harm to us. Sleep that I had kept 
from me for long I let weigh me down, and I no longer kept 

'Then even as I slept, the misfortune that I had watched 
against fell upon me. For now my men spoke together and 
said, " There is our native land, and we come back to it after 
ten years' struggles and toils, with empty hands. Different it 
is with our lord, Odysseus. He brings gold and silver from 
Priam's treasure-chamber in Troy. And ^olus too has given 
him a treasure in an ox-hide bag. But let us take something 
out of that bag while he sleeps.'" 

' So they spoke, and they unloosed the mouth of the bag, and 
behold ! all the winds that were tied in it burst out. Then the 
winds drove our ship towards the high seas and away from our 
land. What became of the other ships I know not. I awoke 
and I found that we were being driven here and there by the 



winds. I did not know whether I should spring into the sea and 
so end all my troubles, or whether I should endure this terrible 
misfortune. I muffled my head in my cloak and lay on the deck 
of my ship.' 

'The winds brought us back again to the floating Island. We 
landed and I went to the dwelling of the Lord of the Winds. I 
sat by the pillars of his threshold and he came out and spoke to 
me. " How now, Odysseus? '* said he. " How is it thou hast 
returned so soon ? Did I not give thee a fair wind to take thee 
to thine own country, and did I not tie up all the winds that 
might be contrary to thee ? " ' 

' "My evil companions," I said, "have been my bane. They 
have undone all the good that thou didst for me, O King of the 
Winds. They opened the bag and let all the winds fly out. 
And now help me, O Lord iEolus, once again." ' 

'But iEolus said to me, " Far be it from me to help such a 
man as thou — a man surely accursed by the gods. Go from my 
Island, for nothing will I do for thee." Then I went from his 
dwelling and took my way down to the ship.' 

E sailed away from the Island of ^olus 
with heavy hearts. Next we came to the 
iEean Island, where we met with Circe, 
the Enchantress. For two days and two 
nights we were on that island without 
seeing the sign of a habitation. On the 
third day I saw smoke rising up from 



some hearth. I spoke of it to my men, and it seemed good 
to us that part of our company should go to see were there 
people there who might help us. We drew lots to find out 
who should go, and it fell to the lot of Eurylochus to go 
with part of the company, while I remained with the other 
part. ' 

'So Eurylochus went with two and twenty men. In the 
forest glades they came upon a house built of polished stones. 
All round that house wild beasts roamed — wolves and hons. 
But these beasts were not fierce. As Eurylochus and his men 
went towards the house the lions and wolves fawned upon them 
like house dogs.' 

^But the men were affrighted and stood round the outer gate 
of the court. They heard a voice within the house singing, and 
it seemed to them to be the voice of a woman, singing as she went 
to and fro before a web she was weaving on a loom. The men 
shouted, and she who had been singing opened the polished doors 
and came out of the dwelling. She was very fair to see. As 
she opened the doors of the house she asked the men to come 
within and they went into her halls.' 

'But Eurylochus tarried behind. He watched the woman 
and he saw her give food to the men. But he saw that she 
mixed a drug with what she gave them to eat and with the wine 
she gave them to drink. No sooner had they eaten the food and 
drunk the wine than she struck them with a wand, and behold ! 
the men turned into swine. Then the woman drove them out 


of the house and put them in the swine-pens and gave 
them acorns and mast and the fruit of the cornel tree tc 

*Eurylochus, when he saw these happenings, ran back through 
the forest and told me all. Then I cast about my shoulder my 
good sword of bronze, and, bidding Eurylochus stay by the 
ships, I went through the forest and came to the house of the 
enchantress. I stood at the outer court and called out. Then 
Circe the Enchantress flung wide the shining doors, and called 
to me to come within. I entered her dwelling and she brought 
me to a chair and put a footstool under my feet. Then she 
brought me in a golden cup the wine into which she had cast a 
harmful drug.' 

*As she handed me the cup I drew my sword and sprang at 
her as one eager to slay her. She shrank back from me and 
cried out, '^ Who art thou who art able to guess at my enchant- 
ments? Verily, thou art Odysseus, of whom Hermes told me. 
Nay, put up thy sword and let us two be friendly to each other. 
In all things I will treat thee kindly." ' 

'But I said to her, "Nay, Circe, you must swear to me first 
that thou wilt not treat me guilefully." ' 

' She swore by the gods that she would not treat me guilefully, 
and I put up my sword. Then the handmaidens of Circe pre- 
pared a bath, and I bathed and rubbed myself with olive oil, and 
Circe gave me a new mantle and doublet. The handmaidens 
brought out silver tables, and on them set golden baskets with 


bread and meat in them, and others brought cups of honey- 
tasting wine. I sat before a silver table but I had no pleasure 
in the food before me.' 

'When Circe saw me sitting silent and troubled she said, 
*' Why, Odysseus, dost thou sit like a speechless man? Dost 
thou think there is a drug in this food ? But I have sworn that 
I will not treat thee guilefully, and that oath I shall keep."' 

'And I said to her, " O Circe, Enchantress, what man of good 
heart could take meat and drink while his companions are as 
swine in swine-pens? If thou wouldst have me eat and drink, 
first let me see my companions in their own forms." ' 

* Circe, when she heard me say this, went to the swine-pen and 
anointed each of the swine that was there with a charm. As she 
did, the bristles dropped away and the limbs of the man were 
seen. My companions became men again, and were even taller 
and handsomer than they had been before.' 

'After that we lived on Circe's island in friendship with the 
enchantress. She did not treat us guilefully again and we 
feasted in her house for a year.' 

'But in all of us there was a longing to return to our own 
land. And my men came to me and craved that I should ask 
Circe to let us go on our homeward way. She gave us leave 
to go and she told us of the many dangers we should meet on 
our voyage.' 




W" W" TJHEN the sun sank and darkness came on, 
% m / ^^ ^^^ went to lie by the hawsers of the 
Vm/ W ^^^P* '^^^^ Circe the Enchantress took 
A » ^ my hand, and, making me sit down by 
her, told me of the voyage that was be- 
fore us.' 

' ''To the Sirens first you shall come," 
said she, " to the Sirens, who sit in their field of flowers and 
bewitch all men who come near them. He who comes near 
the Sirens without knowing their ways and hears the sound 
of their voices — never again shall that man see wife or child, 
or have joy of his home-coming. All round where the Sirens 
sit are great heaps of the bones of men. But I will tell thee, 
Odysseus, how thou mayst pass them.'" 

' ''When thou comest near put wax over the ears of thy com- 
pany lest any of them hear the Sirens' song. But if thou thyself 
art minded to hear, let thy company bind thee hand and foot 
to the mast. And if thou shalt beseech them to loose thee, 
then must they bind thee with tighter bonds. When thy com- 
panions have driven the ship past where the Sirens sing then 
thou canst be unbound."' 

'"Past where the Sirens sit there is a dangerous place indeed. 
On one side there are great rocks which the gods call the Rocks 
Wandering. No ship ever escapes that goes that way. And 


round these rocks the planks of ships and the bodies of men are 
tossed by waves of the sea and storms of fire. One ship only 
ever passed that way, Jason's ship, the Argo, and that ship 
would have been broken on the rocks if Hera the goddess had 
not helped it to pass, because of her love for the hero Jason." ' 

* *' On the other side of the Rocks Wandering are two peaks 
through which thou wilt have to take thy ship. One peak is 
smooth and sheer and goes up to the clouds of heaven. In the 
middle of it there is a cave, and that cave is the den of a monster 
named Scylla. This monster has six necks and on each neck 
there is a hideous head. She holds her heads over the gulf, 
seeking for prey and yelping horribly. No ship has ever passed 
that way without Scylla seizing and carrying off in each mouth 
of her six heads the body of a man." ' 

* ^' The other peak is near. Thou couldst send an arrow 
across to it from Scylla's den. Out of the peak a fig tree grows, 
and below that fig tree Charybdis has her den. She sits there 
sucking down the water and spouting it forth. Mayst thou not 
be near when she sucks the water down, for then nothing could 
save thee. Keep nearer to Scylla's than to Charybdis's rock. 
It is better to lose six of your company than to lose thy 
ship and all thy company. Keep near Scylla's rock and drive 
right on." ' 

' " If thou shouldst win past the deadly rocks guarded by 
Scylla and Charybdis thou wilt come to the Island of Thrinacia. 
There the Cattle of the Sun graze with immortal nymphs to 


guard them. If thou comes t to that Island, do no hurt to those 
herds. If thou doest hurt to them I foresee ruin for thy ship and 
thy men, even though thou thyself shouldst escape." ^ 

'So Circe spoke to me, and having told me such things she 
took her way up the island. Then I went to the ship and roused 
my men. Speedily they went aboard, and, having taken their 
seats upon the benches, struck the water with their oars. Then 
the sails were hoisted and a breeze came and we sailed away from 
the Isle of Circe, the Enchantress.' 

'I told my companions what Circe had told me about the 
Sirens in their field of flowers. I took a great piece of wax and 
broke it and kneaded it until it was soft. Then I covered the 
ears of my men, and they bound me upright to the mast of the 
ship. The wind dropped and the sea became calm as though 
a god had stilled the waters. My company took their oars 
and pulled away. When the ship was within a man's shout 
from the land we had come near the Sirens espied us and raised 
their song.' 

^'Xome hither, come hither, O Odysseus," the Sirens sang, 
"stay thy bark and listen to our song. None hath ever gone 
this way in his ship until he hath heard from our own lips the 
voice sweet as a honeycomb, and hath joy of it, and gone on his 
way a wiser man. We know all things — all the travail the 
Greeks had in the war of Troy, and we know all that hereafter 
shall be upon the earth. Odysseus, Odysseus, come to our field 
of flowers, and hear the song that we shall sing to thee." ' 



*My heart was mad to listen to the Sirens. I nodded my 
head to the company commanding them to unloose me, but 
they bound me the tighter, and bent to their oars and rowed on. 
When we had gone past the place of the Sirens the men took 
the wax from off their ears and loosed me from the mast.' 

UT no sooner had we passed the Island 
than I saw smoke arising and heard the 
roaring of the sea. My company threw 
down their oars in terror. I went amongst 
them to hearten them, and I made them 
remember how, by my device, we had 
escaped from the Cave of the Cyclops. 
I told them nothing of the monster Scylla, lest the fear of her 
should break their hearts. And now we began to drive through 
that narrow strait. On one side was Scylla and on the other 
Charybdis. Fear gripped the men when they saw Charybdis 
gulping down the sea. But as we drove by, the monster Scylla 
seized six of my company — the hardiest of the men who were 
with me. As they were lifted up in the mouths of her six heads 
they called to me in their agony. - But I could do nothing to aid 
them. They were carried up to be devoured in the monster's 
den. Of all the sights I have seen on the ways of the water, 
that sight was the most pitiful.' 

* Having passed the rocks of Scylla and Charybdis we came 
to the Island of Thrinacia. While we were yet on the ship I 
heard the lowing of the Cattle of the Sun. I spoke to my com- 


pany and told them that we should drive past that Island and 
not venture to go upon it.' 

'The hearts of my men were broken within them at that 
sentence, and Eurylochus answered me, speaking sadly.' 

**'It is easy for thee, O Odysseus, to speak like that, for thou 
art never weary, and thou hast strength beyond measure. But 
is thy heart, too, of iron that thou wilt not suffer thy companions 
to set foot upon shore where they may rest themselves from the 
sea and prepare their supper at their ease?" ' 

' So Eurylochus spoke and the rest of the company Joined in 
what he said. Their force was greater than mine. Then said 
I, " Swear to me a mighty oath, one and all of you, that if we go 
upon this Island none of you will slay the cattle out of any herd." ' 

'They swore the oath that I gave them. We brought our 
ship to a harbour, and landed near a spring of fresh water, and the 
men got their supper ready. Having eaten their supper they 
fell to weeping for they thought upon their comrades that Scylla 
had devoured. Then they slept.' 

'The dawn came, but we found that we could not take our ship 
out of the harbour, for the North Wind and the East Wind blew a 
hurricane. So we stayed upon the Island and the days and the 
weeks went by. When the corn we had brought in the ship was 
all eaten the men went through the island fishing and hunting. 
Little they got to stay their hunger.' 

' One day while I slept, Eurylochus gave the men a most evil 
counsel. "Every death," he said, "is hateful to man, but death 


by hunger is by far the worst. Rather than die of hunger 
let us drive off the best cattle from the herds of the Sun. Then, 
if the gods would wreck us on the sea for the deed, let them do it. 
I would rather perish on the waves than die in the pangs of 
hunger." ' 

*So he spoke, and the rest of the men approved of what he 
said. They slaughtered them and roasted their flesh. It was 
then that I awakened from my sleep. As I came down to the 
ship the smell of the roasting flesh came to me. Then I knew 
that a terrible deed had been committed and that a dreadful 
thing would befall all of us.' 

' For six days my company feasted on the best of the cattle. 
On the seventh day the winds ceased to blow. Then we went 
to the ship and set up the mast and the sails and fared out again 
on the deep.' 

'But, having left that island, no other land appeared, and only 
sky and sea were to be seen. A cloud stayed always above our 
ship and beneath that cloud the sea was darkened. The West 
Wind came in a rush, and the mast broke, and, in breaking, struck 
off the head of the pilot, and he fell straight down into the sea. 
A thunderbolt struck the ship and the men were swept from the 
deck. Never a man of my company did I see again.' 

' The West Wind ceased to blow but the South Wind came and 
it drove the ship back on its course. It rushed towards the 
terrible rocks of Scylla and Charybdis. All night long I was 
borne on, and, at the rising of the sun, I found myself near 



Charybdis. My ship was sucked down. But I caught the 
branches of the fig tree that grew out of the rock and hung to it 
like a bat. There I stayed until the timbers of my ship were 
cast up again by Charybdis. I dropped down on them. Sitting 
on the boards I rowed with my hands and passed the rock of 
Scylla without the monster seeing me.^ 

' Then for nine days I was borne along by the waves, and on 
the tenth day I came to Ogygia where the n3anph Calypso 
dwells. She took me to her dwelling and treated me kindly. 
But why tell the remainder of my toils ? To thee, O King, and 
to thy noble wife I told how I came from Calypso's Island, and 
I am not one to repeat a plain-told tale.' 


DYSSEUS finished, and the company in 
the hall sat silent, like men enchanted. 
Then King Alcinous spoke and said, 
'Never, as far as we Phaeacians are con- 
cerned, wilt thou, Odysseus, be driven 
from thy homeward way. To-morrow we 
will give thee a ship and an escort, and 
we will land thee in Ithaka, thine own country.' The Princes, 
Captains and Councillors, marvelling that they had met the 
renowned Odysseus, went each to his own home. When the 
dawn had come, each carried down to the ship on which Odys- 
seus was to sail, gifts for him. 


When the sun was near its setting they all came back to the 
King's hall to take farewell of him. The King poured out a great 
bowl of wine as an offering to the gods. Then Odysseus rose up 
and placed in the Queen's hands a two-handled cup, and he said, 
' Farewell to thee, O Queen ! Mayst thou long rejoice in thy 
house and thy children, and in thy husband, Alcinous, the re- 
nowned King.' 

He passed over the threshold of the King's house, and he went 
down to the ship. He went aboard and lay down on the deck 
on a sheet and rug that had been spread for him. Straightway 
the mariners took to their oars, and hoisted their sails, and the 
ship sped on like a strong sea-bird. Odysseus slept. And 
lightly the ship sped on, bearing that man who had suffered so 
much sorrow of heart in passing through wars of men and through 
troublous seas — the ship sped on, and he slept, and was forgetful 
of all he had passed through. 

When the dawn came the ship was near to the Island of Ithaka. 
The mariners drove to a harbour near which there was a great 
cave. They ran the ship ashore and lifted out Odysseus, wrapped 
in the sheet and the rugs, and still sleeping. They left him on the 
sandy shore of his own land. Then they took the gifts which 
the Kjng and Queen, the Princes, Captains and Councillors of the 
Phaeacians had given him, and they set them by an olive tree, 
a little apart from the road, so that no wandering person might 
come upon them before Odysseus had awakened. Then they went 
back to their ship and departed from Ithaka for their own land. 


Odysseus awakened on the beach of his own land. A mist lay 
over all, and he did not know what land he had come to. He 
thought that the Phaeacians had left him forsaken on a strange 
shore. As he looked around him in his bewilderment he saw one 
who was like a King's son approaching. 

Now the one who came near him was not a young man, but 
the goddess, Pallas Athene, who had made herself look like a 
young man. Odysseus arose, and questioned her as to the land 
he had come to. The goddess answered him and said, 'This 
is Ithaka, a land good for goats and cattle, a land of woods and 

Even as she spoke she changed from the semblance of a young 
man and was seen by Odysseus as a woman tall and fair. 'Dost 
thou not know me, Pallas Athene, the daughter of Zeus, who 
has always helped thee?' the goddess said. 'I would have 
been more often by thy side, only I did not want to go openly 
against my brother, Poseidon, the god of the sea, whose son, 
Pol3^hemus, thou didst blind.' 

As the goddess spoke the mist that lay on the land scattered 
and Odysseus saw that he was indeed in Ithaka, his own country 

— he knew the harbour and the cave, and the hill Neriton all 
covered with its forest. And knowing them he knelt down on 
the ground and kissed the earth of his country. 

Then the goddess helped him to lay his goods within the cave 

— the gold and the bronze and the woven raiment that the Phae- 
acians had given him. She made him sit beside her under the 


olive tree while she told him of the things that were happening 
in his house. 

'There is trouble in thy halls, Odysseus,' she said, 'and it 
would be well for thee not to make thyself known for a time. 
Harden thy heart, that thou mayest endure for a while longer ill 
treatmient at the hands of men.' She told him about the wooers 
of his wife, who filled his halls all day, and wasted his substance, 
and who would slay him, lest he should punish them for their 
insolence. 'So that the doom of Agamemnon shall not befall 
thee — thy slaying within thine own halls — I will change thine 
appearance that no man shall know thee,' the goddess said. 

|HEN she made a change in his appear- 
ance that would have been evil but that 
it was to last for a while only. She made 
his skin wither, and she dimmed his shin- 
ing eyes. She made his yellow hair grey 
and scanty. Then she changed his rai- 
ment to a beggar's wrap, torn and stained 
with smoke. Over his shoulder she cast the hide of a deer, and 
she put into his hands a beggar's staff, with a tattered bag and 
a cord to hang it by. And when she had made this change in 
his appearance the goddess left Odysseus and went from Ithaka. 
It was then that she came to Telemachus in Sparta and coun- 
selled him to leave the house of Menelaus and Helen ; and it has 
been told how he went with Peisistratus, the son of Nestor, and 
came to his own ship. His ship was hailed by a man who was 



flying from those who would slay him, and this man Telemachus 
took aboard. The stranger's name was Theoclymenus, and he 
was a sooth-say er and a second-sighted man. 

And Telemachus, returning to Ithaka, was in peril of his hfe. 
The wooers of his mother had discovered that he had gone from 
Ithaka in a ship. Two of the wooers, Antinous and Euryma- 
chus, were greatly angered at the daring act of the youth. * He 
has gone to Sparta for help,' Antinous said, 'and if he finds 
that there are those who will help him we will not be able to 
stand against his pride. He will make us suffer for what we have 
wasted in his house. But let us too act. I will take a ship with 
twenty men, and He in wait for him in a strait between Ithaka 
and Samos, and put an end to his search for his father.' 

Thereupon Antinous took twenty men to a ship, and fijdng 
mast and sails they went over the sea. There is a Httle isle 
between Ithaka and Samos — • Asteris it is called — and in the 
harbour of that isle he and his men lay in wait for Telemachus. 


EAR the place where Odysseus had landed 
there lived an old man who was a faithful 
servant in his house. Eumaeus was his 
name, and he was a swineherd. He had 
made for himself a dwelling in the wildest 
part of the island, and had built a wall 
round it, and had made for the swine pens 


in the courtyard — twelve pens, and in each pen there were 
fifty swine. Old Eumaeus lived in this place tending the 
swine with three young men to help him. The swine-pens 
were guarded by four dogs that were as fierce as the beasts of 
the forest. 

As he came near the dogs dashed at him, yelping and snapping ; 
and Odysseus might have suffered foul hurt if the swineherd had 
not run out of the courtyard and driven the fierce dogs away. 
Seeing before him one who looked an ancient beggar, Eumaeus 
said, 'Old man, it is well that my dogs did not tear thee, for they 
might have brought upon me the shame of thy death. I have 
grief and pains enough, the gods know, without such a happening. 
Here I sit, mourning for my noble master, and fattening hogs 
for others to eat, while he, mayhap, is wandering in hunger 
through some friendless city. But come in, old man. I have 
bread and wine to give thee.' 

The swineherd led the seeming beggar into the courtyard, and 
he let him sit down on a heap of brushwood, and spread for him 
a shaggy goat-skin. Odysseus was glad of his servant's welcome, 
and he said, 'May Zeus and all the other gods grant thee thy 
heart's dearest wish for the welcome that thou hast given to me.' 

Said Eumaeus the swineherd, 'A good man looks on all strangers 
and beggars as being from Zeus himself. And my heart's dearest 
wish is that my master Odysseus should return. Ah, if Odysseus 
were here, he would give me something which I could hold as 
mine own — a piece of ground to till, and a wife to comfort me. 


But my master will not return, and we thralls must go in fear 
when young lords come to rule it over them.' 

He went to the swine-pens and brought out two sucking pigs ; 
he slaughtered them and cut them small and roasted the meat. 
When all was cooked, he brought portions to Odysseus sprinkled 
with barley meal, and he brought him, too, wine in a deep bowl of 
ivy wood. And when Odysseus had eaten and drunken, Eumaeus 
the swineherd said to him : 

'Old man, no wanderer ever comes to this land but that our 
lady Penelope sends for him, and gives him entertainment, hoping 
that he will have something to tell her of her lord, Odysseus. 
They all do as thou wouldst do if thou camest to her — tell her 
a tale of having seen or of having heard of her lord, to win her ear. 
But as for Odysseus, no matter what wanderers or vagrants say, 
he will never return — dogs, or wild birds, or the fishes of the deep 
have devoured his body ere this. Never again shall I find so 
good a lord, nor would I find one so kind even if I were back in my 
own land, and saw the faces of my father and my mother. But 
not so much for them do I mourn as for the loss of my master.' 

Said Odysseus, 'Thou sayst that thy master will never return, 
but I notice that thou art slow to believe thine own words. Now 
I tell thee that Odysseus will return and in this same year. And 
as sure as the old moon wanes and the young moon is born, he will 
take vengeance on those whom you have spoken of — those who 
eat his substance and dishonour his wife and son. I say that, and 
I swear it with an oath.' 


*I do not heed thine oath,' said Eumaeus the swineherd. 
'I do not hsten to vagrant's tales about my master since a 
stranger came here and cheated us with a story. He told us that 
he had seen Odysseus in the land of the Cretans, in the house of 
the hero Idomeneus, mending his ships that had been broken by 
the storm, and that he would be here by summer or by harvest 
time, bringing with him much wealth.' 

As they were speaking the younger swineherds came back from 
the woods, bringing the drove of swine into the courtyard. 
There was a mighty din whilst the swine were being put into tJieir 
pens. Supper time came on, and Eumaeus and Odysseus and 
the younger swineherds sat down to a meal. Eumaeus carved 
the swinefiesh, giving the best portion to Odysseus whom he 
treated as the guest of honour. And Odysseus said, 'Eumaeus, 
surely thou art counselled by Zeus, seeing thou dost give the best 
of the meat even to such a one as I.' 

And Eumaeus, thinking Odysseus was praising him for treating 
a stranger kindly, said, ' Eat, stranger, and make merry with such 
fare as is here.' 

The night came on cold with rain. Then Odysseus, to test the 
kindliness of the swineherd, said, 'O that I were young and could 
endure this bitter night ! O that I were better off ! Then 
Would one of you swineherds give me a wrap to cover myself 
from the wind and rain ! But now, verily, I am an outcast be- 
cause of my sorry raiment.* 

Then Eumaeus sprang up and made a bed for Odysseus near 


the fire. Odysseus lay down, and the swineherd covered him with 
a mantle he kept for a covering when great storms should 
arise. Then, that he might better guard the swine, Eumaeus, 
wrapping himself up in a cloak, and taking with him a sword and 
javelin, to drive off wild beasts should they come near, went to 
lie nearer to the pens. 

When morning came, Odysseus said, ' I am going to the town 
to beg, so that I need take nothing more from thee. Send some- 
one with me to be a guide. I would go to the house of Odysseus, 
and see if I can earn a little from the wooers who are there. 
Right well could I serve them if they would take me on. There 
could be no better serving-man than I, when it comes to spHtting 
faggots, and kindling a fire and carving meat.' 

'Nay, nay,' said Eumaeus, 'do not go there, stranger. 
None here are at a loss by thy presence. Stay until the son of 
Odysseus, Telemachus, returns, and he will do something for 
thee. Go not near the wooers. It is not such a one as thee that 
they would have to serve them. Stay this day with us.' 

Odysseus did not go to the town but stayed all day with 
Eumaeus. And at night, when he and Eumaeus and the younger 
swineherds were seated at the fire, Odysseus said, 'Thou, too, 
Eumseus, hast wandered far and hast had many sorrows. Tell 
us how thou earnest to be a slave and a swineherd.' 




jHERE is,' said Eumasus, 'a certain island 
over against Ortygia. That island has 
two cities, and my father was king over 
them both.* 

' There came to the city where my father 
dwelt, a ship with merchants from the land 
of the Phoenicians. I was a child then, 
and there was in my father's house a Phoenician slave-woman 
who nursed me. Once, when she was washing clothes, one of the 
sailors from the Phoenician ship spoke to her and asked her 
would she like to go back with them to their own land.' 

'She spoke to that sailor and told him her story. ''I am from 
Sidon in the Phoenician land," she said, ''and my father was 
named Artybas, and was famous for his riches. Sea robbers 
caught me one day as I was crossing the fields, and they stole me 
away, and brought me here, and sold me to the master of yonder 
house." ' 

'Then the sailor said to her, "Your father and mother are 
still alive, I know, and they have lost none of their wealth. 
Wilt thou not come with us and see them again?" ' 

'Then the woman made the sailors swear that they would 
bring her safely to the city of Sidon. She told them that when 
their ship was ready she would come down to it, and that she 
would bring what gold she could lay her hands on away from 


her master's house, and that she would also bring the child whom 
she nursed. ''He is a wise child," she said, ''and you can sell 
him for a slave when you come to a foreign land." ' 

'When the Phoenician ship was ready to depart they sent a 
message to the woman. The sailor who brought the message 
brought too a chain of gold with amber beads strung here and 
there, for my mother to buy. And, while my mother and her 
handmaids were handUng the chain, the sailor nodded to the 
woman, and she went out, taking with her three cups of gold, and 
leading me by the hand.' 

'The sun sank and all the ways were darkened. But the Phoe- 
nician woman went down to the harbour and came to the ship 
and went aboard it. And when the sailor who had gone to my 
father's house came back, they raised the mast and sails, and took 
the oars in their hands, and drew the ship away from our land. 
We sailed away and I was left stricken at heart. For six days 
we sailed over the sea, and on the seventh day the woman died 
and her body was cast into the deep. The wind and the waves 
bore us to Ithaka, and there the merchants sold me to Laertes, 
the father of Odysseus.' 

"The wife of Laertes reared me kindly, and I grew up with the 
youngest of her daughters, the lovely Ctimene. But Ctimene 
went to Same, and was married to one of the princes of that 
island. Afterwards Laertes' lady sent me to work in the fields. 
But always she treated me kindly. Now Laertes' lady is dead — 
she wasted away from grief when she heard no tidings of her only 



son, Odysseus. Laertes yet lives, but since the death of his noble 
wife he never leaves his house. All day he sits by his fire, they 
say, and thinks upon his son's doom, and how his son's sub- 
stance is being wasted, and how his son's son will have but little 
to inherit.' 

So Odysseus passed part of the night, Eumasus telling 
him of his wanderings and his sorrows. And while they wxre 
speaking, Telemachus, the son of Odysseus, came to Ithaka in his 
good ship. Antinous had lain in wait for him, and had posted 
sentinels to watch for his ship ; nevertheless Telemachus had 
passed by without being seen by his enemies. And having come 
to Ithaka, he bade one of his comrades bring the ship into the 
wharf of the city while he himself went to another place. Leav- 
ing the ship he came to the dwelHng of the servant he most 
trusted — to the dwelling of Eumaeus, the swineherd. 


]N the morning of his fourth day in Ithaka, 
as he and the swineherd were eating a 
meal together, Odysseus heard the sound 
of footsteps approaching the hut. The 
fierce dogs were outside and he expected 
to hear them yelping against the stranger's 
approach. No sound came from them. 

Then he saw a young man come to the entrance of the court* 

yard, the swineherd's dogs fawning upon hiro. 


When Eumasus saw this young man he let fall the vessels he 
was carrying, and running to him, kissed his head and his eyes 
and his hands. While he was kissing and weeping over him, 
Odysseus heard the swineherd saying : 

'Telemachus, art thou come back to us? Like a Hght in the 
darkness thou hast appeared ! I thought that never again 
should we see thee when I heard that thou hadst taken a ship to 
Pylos ! Come in, dear son, come in, that I may see thee once 
again in mine house.' 

Odysseus raised his head and looked at his son. As a lion 
might look over his cub so he looked over Telemachus. But 
neither the swineherd nor Telemachus was aware of Odysseus' 

'I have come to see thee, friend Eumaeus,' said Telemachus, 
' for before I go into the City I would know whether my mother 
is still in the house of Odysseus, or whether one of the wooers has 
at last taken her as a wife to his own house.' 

'Thy mother is still in thy father's house,' Eumagus an- 
swered. Then Telemachus came within the courtyard. Odys- 
seus in the guise of the old beggar rose from his seat, but the 
young man said to him courteously : 'Be seated, friend. Another 
seat can be found for me.' 

Eumaeus strewed green brushwood and spread a fleece upon 
Jt, and Telemachus seated himself. Next Eumasus fetched a 
meal for him — oaten cakes and swine flesh and wine. While 
they were eating, the swineherd said : 


'We have here a stranger who has wandered through many 
countries, and who has come to my house as a suppHant. Wilt 
thou take him for thy man, Telemachus?' 

Said Telemachus, ' How can I support any man ? I have not 
the strength of hand to defend mine own house. But for this 
stranger I will do what I can. I will give him a mantle and doub- 
let, with shoes for his feet and a sword to defend himself, and I 
will send him on whatever way he wants to go. But, Eumaeus, 
I would not have him go near my father's house. The wooers 
grow more insolent each day, and they might mock the stranger 
if he went amongst them.' 

Then said Odysseus, speaking for the first time, 'Young sir, 
what thou hast said seems strange to me. Dost thou willingly 
submit to insolence in thine own father's house? But perhaps 
it is that the people of the City hate thee and will not help thee 
against thine enemies. Ah, if I had such youth as I have spirit, 
or if I were the son of Odysseus, I should go amongst them this 
very day, and make myself the bane of each man of them. I 
would rather die in mine own halls than see such shame as is 
reported — strangers mocked at, and servants injured, and wine 
and food wasted.' 

Said Telemachus, 'The people of the City do not hate me, and 
they would help me if they could. But the wooers of my mother 
are powerful men — men to make the City folk afraid. And if 
I should oppose them I would assuredly be slain in my father's 
house, for how could I hope to overcome so many ? ' 


'What wouldst thou have me do for thee, Telemachus ? ' 
said the swineherd. 

'I would have thee go to my mother, friend Eumseus,' Tele- 
machus said, 'and let her know that I am safe-returned from 

Eumaeus at once put sandals upon his feet and took his staff 
in his hands. He begged Telemachus to rest himself in the hut, 
and then he left the courtyard and went towards the City. 

Telemachus lay down on his seat and closed his eyes in weari- 
ness. He saw, while thinking that he only dreamt it, a woman 
come to the gate of the courtyard. She was fair and tall and 
splendid, and the dogs shrank away from her presence with a 
whine. She touched the beggar with a golden wand. As she 
did, the marks of age and beggary fell from him and the man 
stood up as tall and noble looking. 

'Who art thou?' cried Telemachus, starting up. 'Even 
a moment ago thou didst look aged and a beggar ! Now thou 
dost look a chief of men ! Art thou one of the divine ones ? ' 

Odysseus looked upon him and said, 'My son, do not speak 
?o to me. I am Odysseus, thy father. After much suffering 
and much wandering I have come to my own country.' He 
kissed his son with tears flowing down his cheeks, and Telemachus 
threw his arms around his father's neck, but scarce beUeving 
that the father he had searched for was indeed before him. 

But no doubt was left as Odysseus talked to him, and told him 
how he had come to Ithaka in a ship given him by the Phaeacians, 


and how he had brought with him gifts of bronze and raiment 
that were hidden in the cave, and told him, too, how Pallas Athene 
had changed his appearance into that of an old beggar. 

And when his own story was finished he said, 'Come, my son, 
tell me of the wooers who waste the substance of our house — 
tell me how many they number, and who they are, so that we 
may prepare a way of deaHng with them.' 

'Even though thou art a great warrior, my father, thou and 
I cannot hope to deal with them. They have come, not from 
Ithaka alone, but from all the islands around — from Dulichium 
and Same and Zacynthus. We two cannot deal with such a 

Said Odysseus, 'I shall make a plan to deal with them. Go 
thou home, and keep company with the wooers. Later in the 
day the swineherd will lead me into the city, and I shall go into 
the house in the likeness of an old beggar. And if thou shouldst 
see any of the wooers ill-treat me, harden thine heart to endure 
it — even if they drag me by the feet to the door of the house, 
keep quiet thou. And let no one — not even thy mother, 
Penelope — nor my father Laertes — know that Odysseus hath 

Telemachus said, 'My father, thou shalt learn soon what- 
spirit is in me and what wisdom I have.' 

While they talked together the ship that Antinous had taken, 
when he went to lie in wait for Telemachus, returned. The 
wooers assembled and debated whether they should kill Telema- 



chus, for now there was danger that he would draw the people 
to his side, and so make up a force that could drive the wooers out 
of Ithaka. But they did not agree to kill him then, for there was 
one amongst them who was against the deed. 

Eumseus brought the news to Telemachus and Odysseus of 
the return of Antinous' ship. He came back to the hut in the 
afternoon. Pallas Athene had again given Odysseus the appear- 
ance of an ancient beggar-man and the swineherd saw no change 

in his guest. 


T was time for Telemachus to go into the 
City. He put his sandals on his feet, and 
took his spear in his hand, and then speak- 
ing to the swineherd he said : 

' Friend Eumasus, I am now going into 
the City to show myself to my mother, and 
to let her hear from my own lips the tale 
of my journey. And I have an order to leave with thee. Take 
this stranger into the City, that he may go about as he desires, 
asking alms from the people.' 

Odysseus in the guise of a beggar said, 'I thank thee, lord 
Telemachus. I would not stay here, for I am not of an age to 
wait about a hut and courtyard, obeying the orders of a master, 
even if that master be as good a man as thy swineherd. Go thy 
way, lord Telemachus, and Eumaeus, as thou hast bidden him, 
will lead me into the City.' 


Telemachus then passed out of the courtyard and went the 
ways until he came into the City. When he went into the house, 
the first person he saw was his nurse, old Eurycleia, who wel- 
comed him with joy. To Eurycleia he spoke of the guest who 
had come on liis ship, Theoclymenus. He told her that this 
guest would be in the house that day, and that he was to be 
treated with all honour and reverence. The wooers came into 
the hall and crowded around him, with fair words in their mouths. 
Then all sat down at tables, and Eurycleia brought wheaten 
bread and wine and dainties. 

Just at that time Odysseus and Eumaeus were journeying 
towards the City. Odysseus, in the guise of a beggar, had a 
ragged bag across his shoulders and he carried a staff that the 
swineherd had given him to help him over the slippery ground. 
They went by a rugged path and they came to a place where a 
spring flowed into a basin made for its water, and where there was 
an altar to the Nymphs, at which men made offerings. 

As Eumseus and Odysseus were resting at the spring, a servant 
from Odysseus' house came along. He was a goatherd, and 
Melanthius was his name. He was leading a flock of goats for 
the wooers to kill, and when he saw the swineherd with the seem- 
ing beggar he cried out : 

'Now we see the vile leading the \ile. Say, smneherd, 
whither art thou leading this wretch ? It is easy to see the sort 
of fellow he is ! He is the sort to rub shoulders against many 
doorposts, begging for scraps. Nothing else is he good for. But 



if thou wouldst give him to me, swineherd, I would make hini 
watch my fields, and sweep out my stalls, and carry fresh water 
to the kids. He'd have his dish of whey from me. But a fellow 
like this doesn't want an honest job — he wants to lounge through 
the country, filling his belly, without doing anything for the 
people who feed him up. If he goes to the house of Odysseus, 
I pray that he be pelted from the door.' 

E said all this as he came up to them with 
his flock of goats. And as he went by he 
gave a kick to Odysseus. 

Odysseus took thought whether he should 
strike the fellow with his stajff or fling him 
upon the ground. But in the end he hard- 
ened his heart to endure the insult, and let 
the goatherd go on his way. But turning to the altar that was 
by the spring, he prayed : 

'Nymphs of the Well! If ever Odysseus made offerings to 
you, fulfil for me this wish — that he — even Odysseus — may 
come to his own home, and have power to chastise the insolence 
that gathers around his house.' 

They journeyed on, and when they came near they heard the 
sound of the lyre within the house. The wooers were now feast- 
ing, and Phemius the minstrel was singing to them. And when 
Odysseus came before his own house, he caught the swineherd by 
the hand suddenly and with a hard grip, and he said : 

*Lo now, I who have wandered in many lands and have walked 


in pain through many Cities have come at last to the house of 
Odysseus. There it is, standing as of old, with building beyond 
building ; with its walls and its battlements ; its courts and its 
doors. The house of Odysseus, verily ! And lo ! unwelcome 
men keep revel within it, and the smoke of their feast rises up 
and the sound of the lyre is heard playing for them.' 

Said Eumasus, 'What wilt thou have me do for thee, friend? 
Shall I bring thee into the hall and before the company of wooers, 
whilst I remain here, or wouldst thou have me go in before thee ?' 

'I would have thee go in before me,' Odysseus said. 

Now as they went through the courtyard a thing happened 
that dashed Odysseus' eyes with tears. A hound lay in the dirt 
of the yard, a hound that was very old. All uncared for he lay 
in the dirt, old and feeble. But he had been a famous hound, and 
Odysseus himself had trained him before he went to the wars of 
Troy. Argos was his name. Now as Odysseus came near, the 
hound Argos knew him, and stood up before him and whined and 
dropped his ears, but had no strength to come near him. Odys- 
seus knew the hound and stopped and gazed at him. 'A good 
hound Hes there,' said he to Eumaeus, 'once, I think, he was so 
swift that no beast in the deep places of the wood could flee 
from him.' Then he went on, and the hound Argos lay down 
in the dirt of the yard, and that same day the Hfe passed 
from him. 

Behind Eumaeus, the swineherd, he came into his own hall, 
in the appearance of a beggar, wretchedly clad and leaning on an 


old man's staff. Odysseus looked upon the young lords who 
wooed his wife, and then he sat down upon the threshold and 
went no further into the hall. 

Telemachus was there. Seeing Eumaeus he called to him 
and gave the swineherd bread and meat, and said, 'Take these, 
and give them to the stranger at the doorway, and tell him 
that he may go amongst the company and crave an alms from 

Odysseus ate whilst the minstrel was finishing his song. When 
it was finished he rose up, and went into the hall, craving an alms 
from each of the wooers. 

Seeing him, Antinous, the most insolent of the w^ooers, cried 
out, 'O notorious swineherd, why didst thou bring this fellow 
here? Have we not enough vagabonds? Is it nothing to thee 
that worthless fellows come here and devour thy master's sub- 
stance ? ' 

Hearing such a speech from Antinous, Telemachus had to 
say, ^Antinous, I see that thou hast good care for me and mine. 
I marvel that thou hast such good care. But wouldst thou have 
me drive a stranger from the door? The gods forbid that I 
should do such a thing. Nay, Antinous. Give the stranger 
something for the sake of the huuse.' 

' If all the company gives him as much as I, he will have some- 
thing to keep him from beggary for a three months' space,' said 
Antinous, meaning by that that he would work some hurt upon 
the beggar. 


Odysseus came before him. 'They say that thou art the 
noblest of all the wooers/ he said, 'and for that reason thou 
shouldst give me a better thing than any of the others have 
given me. Look upon me. I too had a house of mine own, and 
was accounted wealthy amongst men, and I had servants to 
wait upon me. And many a time would I make welcome the 
wanderer and give him something from my store.' 

'Stand far away from my table, thou wretched fellow,' said 

Then said Odysseus, 'Thou hast beauty, lord Antinous, but 
thou hast not wisdom. Out of thine own house thou wouldst 
not give a grain of salt to a suppliant. And even whilst thou 
dost sit at another man's table thou dost not find it in thy heart 
to give something out of the plenty that is before thee.' 

So Odysseus spoke and Antinous became terribly angered. 
He caught up a footstool, and with it he struck Odysseus in the 
back, at the base of the right shoulder. Such a blow would have 
knocked another man over, but Odysseus stood steadfast under 
it. He gave one look at Antinous, and then without a word he 
went over and sat down again upon the threshold. 

Telemachus had in his heart a mighty rage for the stroke that 
had been given his father. But he let no tear fall from his eyes 
and he sat very still, brooding in his heart evil for the wooers. 
Odysseus, after a while, lifted his head and spoke : 

'Wooers of the renowned queen,' he said, 'hear what the 
spirit within me bids me say to you. There is neither pain nor 


shame in the blow that a man may get in battle. But in the blow 
that Antinous has given me — a blow aimed at a beggar — there 
is pain and there is shame. And now I call upon that god who 
is the avenger of the insult to the poor, to bring, not a wedding to 
Antinous, but the issue of death.' 

'Sit there and eat thy meat in quiet,' Antinous called out, 
'or else thou wilt be dragged through the house by thy heels, and 
the flesh will be stripped off thy bones.' 

And now the lady Penelope had come into the hall. Hearing 
that a stranger was there, she sent for Euma^us and bade the 
swineherd bring him to her, that she might question him as to 
what he had heard about Odysseus. Eumaeus came and told 
him of Penelope's request. But Odysseus said, 'Eumseus, 
right willing am I to tell the truth about Odysseus to the fair and 
wise Penelope. But now I may not speak to her. Go to her 
and tell her that when the wooers have gone I will speak 
to her. And ask her to give me a seat near the fire, that I 
may sit and warm myself as I speak, for the clothes I wear are 

As Eumseus gave the message to the lady Penelope, one who 
was there, Theoclymenus, the guest who had come in Telema- 
chus' ship, said, 'O wife of the renowned Odysseus, be sure 
that thy lord will return to his house. As I came here on the 
ship of Telemachus, thy son, I saw a happening that is an omen 
of the return of Odysseus. A bird flew out on the right, a 
hawk. In his talons he held a dove, and plucked her and shed 



the feathers down on the ship. By that omen I know that 
the lord of this high house will return, and strike here in his 

Penelope left the hall and went back to her own chamber. 
Next Eumseus went away to look after his swine. But still the 
wooers continued to feast, and still Odysseus sat in the guise of 
a beggar on the threshold of his own house. 


HERE was in Ithaka a common beggar; 
he was a most greedy fellow, and he was 
nicknamed Irus because he used to run er- 
rands for the servants of Odysseus' house. 
He came in the evening, and seeing a 
seeming beggar seated on the threshold, 
he flew into a rage and shouted at him : 
'Get away from here, old fellow, lest you be dragged away by 
the hand or foot. Look you ! The lords within the house are 
giving me the wink to turn you out. But I can't demean myself 
by touching the like of you. Get up now and go while I'm easy 
with you.' 

Odysseus looked at the fellow and said, 'I have not harmed 
you in deed or word, and I do not grudge you anything of what 
you may get in this house. The threshold I sit on is wide enough 
for two of us.' 

* What words this fellow has ! ' said Irus the beggar. ' He 



talks like an old sit-by-the-fire. I'll not waste more words on 
him. Get up now, heavy paunch, and strip for the fight, for I'm 
going to show all the lords that I can keep the door for them.' 

'Do not provoke me,' said Odysseus. 'Old as I seem, I may 
be able to draw your blood.' 

But Irus kept on shouting, 'I'll knock the teeth out of your 
jaws.' 'I'll trounce you.' Antinous, the most insolent of the 
wooers, saw the squabble, and he laughed to see the pair defying 
each other. 'Friends,' said he, 'the gods are good to us, and 
don't fail to send us amusement. The strange beggar and our 
own Irus are threatening each other. Let us see that they don't 
draw back from the fight. Let us match one against the other.* 
LL the wooers trooped to the threshold 
and stood round the ragged men. Anti- 
nous thought of something to make the 
game more merry. ' There are two great 
puddings in the larder,' he said. 'Let us 
offer them for a prize to these pugilists. 
Come, Irus. Come, stranger. A choice 
of puddings for whichever of you wins the match. Aye, and 
more than that. Whoever wins shall have leave to eat every 
day in this hall, and no other beggar shall be let come near the 
house. Go to it now, ye mighty men.' All the wooers crowded 
round and clapped the men on to the fight. 

Odysseus said, 'Friends, an old man like me cannot fight one 
who is younger and abler.' 


But they cried to him, 'Go on, go on. Get into the fight or 
else take stripes upon your body.' 

Then said Odysseus, 'Swear to me, all of you, that none of 
you will show favour to Irus nor deal me a foul blow.' 

All the wooers cried out that none would favour Irus or deal 
his opponent a foul blow. And Telemachus, who was there, 
said, 'The man who strikes thee, stranger, will have to take 
reckoning from me.' 

Straightway Odysseus girt up his rags. When his great arms 
and shoulders and thighs were seen, the wooers were amazed and 
Irus was frightened. He would have slipped away if Antinous 
had not caught him and said to him, 'You lubber, you ! If you 
do not stand up before this man I will have you flung on my shiD 
and sent over to King Echetus, who will cut off your nose and ear^ 
and give your flesh to his dogs to eat.' He took hold of Irus 
and dragged him into the ring. 

The fighters faced each other. But Odysseus with his hands 
upraised stood for long without striking, for he was pondering 
whether he should strike Irus a hard or a light blow. It seemed 
to him better to strike him lightly, so that his strength should not 
be made a matter for the wooers to note and wonder at. Irus 
struck first. He struck Odysseus on the shoulder. ThenOdysseu= 
aimed a blow at his neck, just below the ear, and the beggar feD 
to the ground, with the blood gushing from his mouth and nose. 

The wooers were not sorry for Irus. They laughed until they 
n^ere ready to fall backwards. Then Odysseus seized Irus by the 


feet, and dragged him out of the house, and to the gate of the 
courtyard. He hfted him up and put him standing against the 
wall. Placmg the staff in the beggar's hands, he said, ' Sit there, 
and scare off the dogs and swine, and do not let such a one as you 
lord it over strangers. A worse thing might have befallen you.' 

Then back he went to the hall, with his beggar's bag on his 
shoulder and his clothes more ragged than ever. Back he went, 
and when the wooers saw him they burst into peals of laughter 
and shouted out : 

'May Zeus, O stranger, give thee thy dearest wish and thy 
heart's desire. Thou only shalt be beggar in Ithaka.' They 
laughed and laughed again when Antinous brought out the great 
pudding that was the prize. Odysseus took it from him. And 
another of the wooers pledged him in a golden cup, saying, 'INIay 
you come to your own, O beggar, and may happiness be yours 
in time to come.' 

While these things were happening, the wife of Odysseus, the 
lady Penelope, called to Eurycleia, and said, ' This evening I will 
go into the hall of our house and speak to my son, Telemachus. 
Bid my two handmaidens make ready to come with me, for I 
shrink from going amongst the wooers alone.' 

Eurycleia went to tell the handmaidens and Penelope washed 
ofif her cheeks the traces of the tears that she had wept that 
day. Then she sat down to wait for the handmaidens to come 
to her. As she waited she fell into a deep sleep. And as she 
slept, the goddess Pallas Athene bathed her face in the Water 


of Beauty and took all weariness away from her body, and 
restored all her youthfulness to her. The sound of the hand- 
maidens' voices as they came in awakened her, and Penelope 
rose up to go into the hall. 

Now when she came amongst them with her two handmaidens, 
one standing each side of her, the wooers were amazed, for they 
had never seen one so beautiful. The hearts of all were en- 
chanted with love for her, and each prayed that he might have 
her for his wife. 

Penelope did not look on any of the wooers, but she went to 
her son, Telemachus, and spoke to him. 

'Telemachus,' she said, 'I have heard that a stranger has 
been ill-treated in this house. How, my child, didst thou permit 
such a thing to happen ? ' 

Telemachus said, ' My lady mother, thou hast no right xo be 
angered at what took place in this hall.' 

So they spoke to one another, mother and son. Now one of 
the wooers, Eurymachus by name, spoke to Penelope, saying : 

'Lady, if any more than we beheld thee in the beauty thou hast 
now, by so many more wouldst thou have wooers to-morrow.' 

'Speak not so to me, lord Eurymachus,' said Penelope, 
* speak not of my beauty, which departed in the grief I felt when 
my lord went to the wars of Troy.' 

Odysseus stood up, and gazed upon his wife who was standing 
amongst her wooers. Eurymachus noted him and going to him, 
said, 'Stranger, wouldst thou be my hireling? If thou wouMst 


work on my upland farm, I should give thee food and clothes. 
But I think thou art practised only in shifts and dodges, and that 
thou wouldst prefer to go begging thy way through the country.' 

Odysseus, standing there, said to that proud wooer, 'Lord 
Eurymachus, if there might be a trial of labour between us two, I 
know which of us would come out the better man. I would that 
we two stood together, a scythe in the hands of each, and a good 
swath of meadow to be mown — then would I match with thee, 
fasting from dawn until evening's dark. Or would that we were 
set ploughing together. Then thou shouldst see who would 
plough the longest and the best furrow ! Or would that we two 
were in the ways of war ! Then shouldst thou see who would 
be in the front rank of battle. Thou dost think thyself a great 
man. But if Odysseus should return, that door, wide as it is, 
would be too narrow for thy flight.' 

So angry was Eurymachus at this speech that he would have 
struck Odysseus if Telemachus had not come amongst the wooers, 
saying, 'That man must not be struck again in this hall. Sirs, 
if you have finished feasting, and if the time has come for you, 
go to your own homes, go in peace I pray you.' 

All were astonished that Telemachus should speak so boldly. 
No one answered him back, for one said to the other, 'What he 
has said is proper. We have nothing to say against it. To 
misuse a stranger in the house of Odysseus is a shame. Now let 
us pour out a libation of wine to the gods, and then let each man 
go to his home.' 



The wine was poured out and the wooers departed. Then 
Penelope and her handmaidens went to her own chamber and 
Telemachus was left with his father, Odysseus. 


O Telemachus Odysseus said, ' My son, we 
must now get the weapons out of the hall. 
Take them down from the walls.' Telema- 
chus and his father took down the hel- 
mets and shields and sharp-pointed spears. 
Then said Odysseus as they carried them 
out, 'To-morrow, when the wooers miss 
the weapons and say, "Why have they been taken?" answer 
them, saying, "The smoke of the fire dulled them, and they no 
longer looked the weapons that my father left behind him when 
he went to the wars of Troy. Besides, I am fearful lest some 
day the company in the hall come to a quarrel, one with the 
other, and snatch the weapons in anger. Strife has come here 
already. And iron draws iron, men say."' : 

Telemachus carried the armour and weapons out of the hall 
and hid them in the women's apartment. Then when the hall 
was cleared he went to his own chamber. 

It was then that Penelope came back to the hall to speak to the 
stranger. One of her handmaidens, Melantho by name, was 
there, and she was speaking angrily to him. Now this Melantho 


was proud and hard of heart because Antinous often conversed 
with her. As Penelope came near she was sa>ang : 

' Stranger, art thou still here, prying things out and spying on 
the servants? Be thankful for the supper thou hast gotten and 
betake thyself out of this.' 

Odysseus, looking fiercely at her, said, 'Why shouldst thou 
speak to me in such a way? If I go in ragged clothes and beg 
through the land it is because of my necessity. Once I had a 
house with servants and with much substance, and the stranger 
who came there was not abused.' 

The lady Penelope called to the handmaiden and said, 'Thou, 
Melantho, didst hear it from mine own lips that I was minded to 
speak to this stranger and ask him if he had tidings of my lord. 
Therefore, it does not become thee to revile him.' She spoke 
to the old nurse who had come with her, and said, 'Eurycleia, 
bring to the fire a bench, with a fleece upon it, that this stranger 
may sit and tell me his story.' 

Eurycleia brought over the bench, and Odysseus sat down near 
the fire. Then said the lady Penelope, 'First, stranger, wilt 
thou tell me who thou art, and what is thy name, and thy race 
and thy country ? ' 

Said Odysseus, 'Ask me all thou wilt, lady, but inquire not 
concerning my name, or race, or country, lest thou shouldst fiJl 
my heart with more pains than I am able to endure. Verily I 
am a man of grief. But hast thou no tale to tell me ? We know 
of thee, Penelope, for thy fame goes up to heaven, and no one of 
mortal men can find fault with thee.' 

\ f 

k-i^' ., 



Then said Penelope, 'What excellence I had of face or form 
departed from me when my lord Odysseus went from this hall 
to the wars of Troy. And since he went a host of ills has beset 
me. Ah, would that he were here to watch over my Hfe ! The 
lords of all the islands around — Dulichium and Same and 
Zacynthus ; and the lords of the land of Ithaka, have come here 
and are wooing me against my will. They devour the substance 
of this house and my son is being impoverished.' 

'Long ago a god put into my mind a device to keep marriage 
with any of them away from me. I set up a great web upon my 
loom and I spoke to the wooers, saying, ''Odysseus is assuredly 
dead, but I crave that you be not eager to speed on this marriage 
with me. Wait until I finish the web I am weaving. It is a 
shroud for Odysseus' father, and I make it against the day when 
death shall come to him. There will be no woman to care for 
Laertes when I have left his son's house, and I would not have 
such a hero lie without a shroud, lest the women of our land 
should blame me for neglect of my husband's father in his last 

'So I spoke, and they agreed to wait until the web was woven. 
[n the daytime I wove it, but at night I unravelled the web. So 
three years passed away. Then the fourth year came, and my 
wooers were hard to deal with. My treacherous handmaidens 
brought them upon me as I was unravelling the web. And now 
I cannot devise any other plan to keep the marriage away from 
me. My parents command me to marry one of my wooers. 


My son cannot long endure to see the substance of his house and 
field bemg wasted, and the wealth that should be his destroyed. He 
too would wish that I should marry. And there is no reason why 
I should not be wed again, for surely Odysseus, my lord, is dead.' 
Said Odysseus, 'Thy lord was known to me. On his way to 
Troy he came to my land, for the wind blew him out of his course, 
sending him wandering past Malea. For twelve days he stayed 
in my city, and I gave him good entertainment, and saw that he 
lacked for nothing in cattle, or wine, or barley meal.' 

When Odysseus was spoken of, the heart of Penelope melted, 
and tears ran down her cheeks. Odysseus had pity for his wife 
when he saw her weeping for the man who was even then sitting 
by her. Tears would have run down his own cheeks only that 
he was strong enough to hold them back. 

Said Penelope, 'Stranger, I cannot help but question thee 
about Odysseus. WTiat raiment had he on w^hen thou didst see 
him ? And what men were \\ath him ? ' 

"^AID Odysseus, 'Lady, it is hard for one 
so long parted from him to tell thee what 
thou hast asked. It is now twenty years 
since I saw Odysseus. He wore a purple 
mantle that was fastened with a brooch. 
And this brooch had on it the image of a 
hound holding a fawn between its fore- 
paws. All the people marvelled at this brooch, for it was of 
gold, and the fawn and the bound were done to the life. And 



I remember that there was a henchman with Odysseus — he was 
a man somewhat older than his master, round shouldered and 
black-skinned and curly headed. His name was Eurybates, and 
Odysseus honoured him above the rest of his company.' 

When he spoke, giving such tokens of Odysseus, Penelope wept 
again. And when she had wept for a long time she said : 

'Stranger, thou wert made welcome, but now thou shalt be 
honoured in this hall. Thou dost speak of the garments that 
Odysseus wore. It was I who gave him these garments, folding 
them myself and bringing them out of the chamber. And it 
was I who gave him the brooch that thou hast described. Ah, 
it was an evil fate that took him from me, bringing him to Troy, 
that place too evil to be named by me.' 

Odysseus leaned towards her, and said, 'Do not waste thy heart 
with endless weeping, lady. Cease from lamentation, and lay 
up in thy mind the word I give thee. Odysseus is near. He 
has lost all his companions, and he knows not how to come into 
this house, whether openly or by stealth. I swear it. By the 
hearth of Odysseus to which I am come, I swear that Odysseus 
himself will stand up here before the old moon wanes and the 
new moon is born.' 

'Ah, no,' said Penelope. 'Often before have wanderers told 
me such comfortable things, and I believed them. I know now 
that thy word cannot be accomplished. But it is time for thee 
to rest thyself, stranger. My handmaidens will make a bed for 
thee in the vestibule, and then come to thee and bathe thy feet.' 


Said Odysseus, ' Thy handmaidens would be loath to touch the 
feet of a wanderer such as I. But if there is in the house some 
old wife who has borne such troubles as I have borne, I would 
have my feet bathed by her/ 

Said Penelope, ^Here is an ancient woman who nursed and 
tended that hapless man, Odysseus. She took him in her arms 
in the very hour he was born. Eurycleia, wash the feet of this 
man, who knew thy lord and mine.' 

Thereupon the nurse, old Eurycleia, fetched water, both hot 
and cold, and brought the bath to the hearth. And standing 
before Odysseus in the flickering light of the fire, she said, 'I 
will wash thy feet, both for Penelope's sake and for thine own. 
The heart within me is moved at the sight of thee. Many 
strangers have come into this hall, but I have never seen one 
that was so like as thou art to Odysseus.' 

Said Odysseus, 'Many people have said that Odysseus and 
I favour each other.' 

His feet were in the water, and she put her hand upon one 
of them. As she did so, Odysseus turned his face away to 
the darkness, for it suddenly came into his mind that his 
nurse, old Eurycleia, might recognize the scar that was upon 
that foot. 

How came it there, that scar? It had been made long ago 
when a boar's tusk had ripped up the flesh of his foot. Odysseus 
was then a youth, and he had gone to the mountain Parnassus 
to visit there his mother's father. 



NE morning, with his uncles, young Odys- 
seus went up the slope of the mountain 
Parnassus, to hunt with hounds. In a 
thick lair a mighty boar was lying. When 
the sound of the men's trampling came 
near him, he sprang up with gleaming 
eyes and stood before them all. Odys- 
seus, holding his spear in his hands, rushed upon him. But 
before he could strike him, the boar charged, ripping deep into 
his flesh with his tusk. Then Odysseus speared him through 
the shoulder and the boar was slain. His uncles staunched the 
wound and he stayed with them on the mountain Parnassus, in 
his grandfather's house, until the wound was healed. 

And now, as Eurycleia, his old nurse, passed her hands along 
the leg, she let his foot drop suddenly. His knee struck against 
the bath, and the vessel of water was overturned. The nurse 
touched the chin of Odysseus and she said, 'Thou art Odysseus.' 

She looked to where Penelope was sitting, so that she might 
make a sign to her. But Penelope had her eyes turned away. 
Odysseus put his hand on Eurycleia's moutli, and with the other 
hand he drew her to him. 

'Woman,' he whispered. 'Say nothing. Be silent, lest 
mine enemies learn what thou knowest now.' 

'Silent I'll be,' said the nurse Eurycleia. 'Thou knowest 
me. Firm and unyielding I am, and by no sign will I let anyone 
know that thou hast come under this roof.' 


So saying she went out of the hall to fetch water in the place 
of that which had been spilt. She came back and finished bathing 
his feet. Then Odysseus arranged the rags around his leg to hide 
the scar, and he drew the bench closer to the fire. 

Penelope turned to him again. 'Wise thou art, my guest,' 
she said, 'and it may be that thou art just such a man as can 
interpret a dream that comes to me constantly. I have twenty 
geese in the yard outside. In my dream I see them, and then 
a great eagle flies down from the mountains, and breaks their 
necks and kills them all, and lays them in a heap in this hall. 
I weep and lament for my geese, but then the eagle comes back, 
and perching on a beam of the roof speaks to me in the voice of 
a man. "Take heart, O wife of Odysseus," the eagle says, 
"this is no dream but a true vision. For the geese that thou 
hast seen are thy wooers, and I, that appeared as an eagle, am 
thy husband who will swiftly bring death to the wooers." Then 
the dream goes, and I waken and look out on the daylight and 
see my geese in the courtyard pecking at the wheat in the 
trough. Canst thou interpret this dream ? ' 

'Lady,' said Odysseus, 'the dream interprets itself. All 
will come about as thou hast dreamed.' 

*Ah,' said Penelope, 'but it cannot now, for the day of my 
woe is at hand. I am being forced by my parents to choose a 
husband from the wooers, and depart from the house of Odysseus.' 

'And how wilt thou choose from amongst them?' said 



'In this way will I make choice,' said Penelope. 'My 
husband's great bow is still in the house. The one who can 
bend that bow, and shoot an arrow through the holes in the 
backs of twelve axes set one behind the other — him will I choose 
for my husband.' 

Said Odysseus, 'Thy device is good, Penelope, and some god 
hath instructed thee to do this. But delay no longer the contest 
of the bow. Let it be to-morrow.' 

' Is that thy counsel, O stranger ? ' said Penelope. 

'It is my counsel,' said Odysseus. 

'I thank thee for thy counsel,' she said. 'And now fareweU, 
for I must go to my rest. And do thou Ue down in the vestibule, 
in the bed that has been made for thee.' 

So Penelope spoke, and then she went to her chamber with 
her handmaidens. And in her bed she thought over all 
the stranger had told her of Odysseus, and she wept again 
for him. 


LL night Odysseus lay awake, tossing this 
side and that, as he pondered on how he 
might slay the wooers, and save his house 
from them. As soon as the dawn came, 
he went into the open air and, lifting up 
his hands, prayed to Zeus, the greatest 
of the gods, that he might be shown 


some sign, as to whether he would win victory or meet with 

And then, as he was going within the house, he heard the voice 
of a woman who ground barley-meal between stones. She was 
one of twelve, but the other women had fallen asleep by the quern- 
stones. She was an ancient, wretched woman, covered all over 
with the dust of the grain, and, as Odysseus came near her, she 
Hf ted up her hands and prayed in a weak voice : 

'O Zeus, even for miserable me, fulfil a prayer ! May this be 
the last day that the wooers make their feast in the house of 
Odysseus ! They have loosened my knees with the cruel toil 
they have made me undergo, grinding for them the barley for 
the bread they eat. O Zeus, may they to-day sup their 

Thus the quern-woman spoke, as Odysseus crossed his thresh- 
old. He was glad of her speech, for it seemed to him her words 
were an omen from Zeus, and that vengeance would soon be 
wrought upon the proud and hard-hearted men who wasted the 
goods of the house and oppressed the servants. 

And now the maids came into the hall from the women's 
apartment, and some cleaned the tables and others took pitchers 
and went to the well for water. Then men-servants came in and 
split the fagots for the fire. Other servants came into the court- 
yard — • Eumaeus the swineherd, driving fatted swine, the best 
of his drove, and Philoetius the cattle-herd bringing a calf. The 
Sfoatherd Melanthius, him whom Odysseus and Eumaeus had 


met on the road the day before, also came, bringing the best goats 
of his flock to be killed for the wooers' feast. 

When the cattle-herd, Philoetius, saw a stranger in the guise 
of a beggar, he called out as he tethered the calf in the yard, 
* Hail, stranger friend ! My eyes fill with tears as I look on 
thee. For even now, clad as thou art in rags, thou dost make 
me think of my master Odysseus, who may be a wanderer such 
as thou in friendless lands. Ah, that he might return and make 
a scattering of the wooers in his hall.' Eumaeus the swineherd 
came up to Philoetius and made the same prayer. These two, 
and the ancient woman at the quern, were the only ones of his 
servants whom he heard pray for his return. 

And now the wooers came into the hall. Philoetius the cattle- 
herd, and Melanthius the evil goatherd, went amongst them, 
handing them bread and meat and wine. Odysseus stood outside 
the hall until Telemachus went to him and brought him within. 

Now there was amongst the wooers a man named Ctesippus, 
and he was the rudest and the roughest of them all. When he 
saw Telemachus bringing Odysseus within he shouted out, 
'Here is a guest of Telemachus to whom some gift is due from 
us. It will be unseemly if he should get nothing to-day. 
Therefore I will bestow this upon him as a token.' 

Saying this, Ctesippus took up the foot of a slaughtered ox and 
flung it full at Odysseus. Odysseus drew back, and the ox's foot 
struck the wall. Then did Odysseus smile grimly upon the 


Said Telemachus, 'Verily, Ctesippus, the cast turned out 
happily for thyself. For if thou shouldst have struck my guest, 
there would have been a funeral feast instead of a wedding 
banquet in thy father's house. Assuredly I should have driven 
my spear through thee.' 

All the wooers were silent when Telemachus spoke these bold 
words. But soon they fell laughing at something one of their 
number said. The guest from Telemachus' ship, Theoclymenus, 
was there, and he started up and went to leave the hall. 

'Why dost thou go, my guest?' said Telemachus. 

'I see the walls and the beams of the roof sprinkled with 
blood,' said Theoclymenus, the second-sighted man. 'I hear the 
voice of wailing. I see cheeks wet with tears. The men before 
me have shrouds upon them. The courtyard is filled with 

So Theoclymenus spoke, and all the wooers laughed at the 
second-sighted man, for he stumbled about the hall as if it were 
in darkness. Then said one of the wooers, 'Lead that man out 
of the house, for surely he cannot tell day from night.' 

'I will go from the place,' said Theoclymenus. 'I see death 
approaching. Not one of all the company before me will be 
able to avoid it.' 

So saying, the second-sighted man went out of the hall. The 
wooers looking at each other laughed again, and one of them said : 

'Telemachus has no luck in his guests. One is a dirty beggar, 
who thinks of nothing but what he can put from his hand into 



his mouth, and the other wants to stand up here and play the 
seer.' So the wooers spake in mockery, but neither Telemachus 
nor Odysseus paid heed to their words, for their minds were bent 
upon the time when they should take vengeance upon them. 


N the treasure-chamber of the house Odys- 
seus' great bow was kept. That bow had 
been given to him by a hero named Iphitus 
long ago. Odysseus had not taken it with 
him when he went to the wars of Troy. 

To the treasure-chamber Penelope went. 
She carried in her hand the great key that 
opened the doors — a key all of bronze with a handle of ivory. 
Now as she thrust the key into the locks, the doors groaned as 
a bull groans. She went within, and saw the great bow upon 
its peg. She took it down and laid it upon her knees, and 
thought long upon the man who had bent it. 

Beside the bow was its quiver full of bronze-weighted arrows. 
The servant took the quiver and Penelope took the bow, and they 
went from the treasure-chamber and into the hall where the 
wooers were. 

When she came in she spoke to the company and said : 'Lords 
of Ithaka and of the islands around : You have come here, each 
desiring that I should wed him. Now the time has come for me 
to make my choice of a man from amongst you. Here is how 
I shall make choice.' 


'This is the bow of Odysseus, my lord who is no more. Who- 
soever amongst you who can bend this bow and shoot an arrow 
from it through the holes in the backs of twelve axes which I 
shall have set up, him will I wed, and to his house I will go^ 
forsaking the house of my wedlock, this house so filled with 
treasure and substance, this house which I shall remember in 
my dreams. ' 

As she spoke Telemachus took the twelve axes and set them 
upright in an even Hne, so that one could shoot an arrow through 
the hole that was in the back of each axe-head. Then Eumasus, 
the old swineherd, took the bow of Odysseus, and laid it before 
the wooers. 

One of the wooers took up the bow and tried to bend it. But 
he could not bend it, and he laid it down at the doorway with the 
arrow beside it. The others took up the bow, and warmed it at 
the fire, and rubbed it with lard to make it more pliable. As 
they were doing this, Eumaeus, the swineherd, and Philoetius, 
the cattleherd, passed out of the hall. 

Odysseus followed them into the courtyard. He laid a hand 
on each and said, ' Swineherd and cattleherd, I have a word to 
say to you. But will you keep it to yourselves, the word I say? 
And first, what would you do to help Odysseus if he should 
return? Would you stand on his side, or on the side of the 
wooers? Answer me now from your hearts.' 

Said Philoetius the cattleherd, 'May Zeus fulfil my wish smA 
bring Odysseus back ! Then thou shouldst know on whose side 


I would stand.' And Eumaeus said, 'If Odysseus should return 
I would be on his side, and that with all the strength that is in me.' 

When they said this, Odysseus declared himself. Lifting up 
his hand to heaven he said, 'I am your master, Odysseus. After 
twenty years I have come back to my own country, and I find 
that of all my servants, by you two alone is my homecoming 
desired. If you need see a token that I am indeed Odysseus, 
look down on my foot. See there the mark that the wild boar 
left on me in the days of my youth.' 

Straightway he drew the rags from the scar, and the swineherd 
and the cattleherd saw it and marked it well. Knowing that 
it was indeed Odysseus who stood before them, they cast their 
arms around him and kissed him on the head and shoulders. 
And Odysseus was moved by their tears, and he kissed their 
heads and their hands. 

As they went back to the hall, he told Eumaeus to bring the 
bow to him as he was bearing it through the hall. He told him, 
too, to order Eurycleia, the faithful nurse, to bar the doors of the 
women's apartment at the end of the hall, and to bid the women, 
even if they heard a groaning and a din, not to come into the hall. 
And he charged the cattleherd Philoetius to bar the gates of the 

As he went into the hall, one of the wooers, Eurymachus, was 
striving to bend the bow. As he struggled to do so he groaned 
aloud : 

'Not because I may not marry Penelope do I groan, but 


because we youths of to-day are shown to be weaklings beside 
Odysseus, whose bow we can in no way bend.' 

Then Antinous, the proudest of the wooers, made answer and 
said, 'Why should we strive to bend the bow to-day? Nay, 
lay the bow aside, Eurymachus, and let the wine-bearers pour 
us out a cupful each. In the morning let us make sacrifice to 
the Archer-god, and pray that the bow be fitted to some of our 

Then Odysseus came forward and said, 'Sirs, you do well to 
lay the bow aside for to-day. But will you not put the bow into 
my hands, that I may try to bend it, and judge for myself whether 
I have any of the strength that once was mine ? ' 

All the wooers were angry that a seeming beggar should attempt 
to bend the bow that none of their company were able to bend ; 
Antinous spoke to him sharply and said : 

' Thou wretched beggar ! Is it not enough that thou art let 
into this high hall to pick up scraps, but thou must listen to our 
speech and join in our conversation ? If thou shouldst bend that 
bow we will make short shrift of thee, I promise. We will put 
thee on a ship and send thee over to King Echetus, who will cut 
thee to pieces and give thy flesh to his hounds.' 

Old Eumaeus had taken up the bow. As he went with it to 
Odysseus some of them shouted to him, ' Where art thou going 
with the bow, thou crazy fellow? Put it down.' Eumaeus 
was confused by their shouts, and he put down the bow. 

Then Telemachus spoke to him and said, 'Eumaeus, beware 


of being the man who served many masters.' Eumaeus, hearing 
these words, took it up again and brought it to Odysseus, and 
put the bow into his hands. 

As Odysseus stood in the doorway of the hall, the bow in his 
hands, and with the arrows scattered at his feet, Eumaeus went 
to Eurycleia, and told her to bar the door of the women's apart- 
ment at the back. Then Philoetius, the cattleherd, went out of 
the hall and barred the gates leading out of the courtyard. 

For long Odysseus stood with the bow in his hands, handhng 
it as a minstrel handles a lyre when he stretches a cord or tightens 
a peg. Then he bent the great bow; he bent it without an effort, 
and at his touch the bow-string made a sound that was Hke the 
cry of a swallow. The wooers seeing him bend that mighty bow 
felt, every man of them, a sharp pain at the heart. They saw 
Odysseus take up an arrow and fit it to the string. He held the 
notch, and he drew the string, and he shot the bronze-weighted 
arrow straight through the holes in the back of the axe-heads. 

Then as Eumaeus took up the axes, and brought them outside, 
he said, 'Thou seest, lord Telemachus, that thy guest does not 
shame thee through foolish boasting. I have bent the bow of 
Odysseus, and I have shot the arrow aright. But now it is time 
to provide the feast for the lords who woo thy lady mother. 
While it is yet light, the feast must be served to them, and with 
the feast they must have music and the dance.' 

Saying this he nodded to Telemachus, bending his terrible 
brows. Telemachus instantly girt his sword upon him and took 



his spear in his hand. Outside was heard the thunder of Zeus. 
And now Odysseus had stripped his rags from him and was 
standing upright, looking a master of men. The mighty bow was 
in his hands, and at his feet were scattered many bronze-weighted 


T is ended,' Odysseus said, 'My trial is 
ended. Now will I have another mark.' 
Saying this, he put the bronze-weighted 
arrow against the string of the bow, and 
shot at the first of his enemies. 

It was at Antinous he pointed the arrow 
— at Antinous who was even then lifting 
up a golden cup filled with wine, and who was smiling, with 
death far from his thoughts. Odysseus aimed at him, and smote 
him with the arrow in the throat and the point passed out clean 
through his neck. The wine cup fell from his hands and Anti- 
nous fell dead across the table. Then did all the wooers raise a 
shout, threatening Odysseus for sending an arrow astray. It did 
not come into their minds that this stranger-beggar had aimed 
to kill Antinous. 

But Odysseus shouted back to them, 'Ye dogs, ye that said 
in your hearts that Odysseus would never return to his home, ye 
that wasted my substance, and troubled my wife, and injured my 
servants ; ye who showed no fear of heaven, nor of the just judge- 


ments of men; behold Odysseus returned, and know what death 
is being loosed on you ! ' 

Then Eurymachus shouted out, 'Friends, this man will not 
hold his hands, nor cease from shooting with the bow, until all of 
us are slain. Now must we enter into the battle with him. 
Draw your swords and hold up the tables before you for shields 
and advance upon him.' 

But even as he spoke Odysseus, with a terrible cry, loosed an 
arrow at him and shot Eur^Taachus through the breast. He let 
the sword fall from his hand, and he too fell dead upon the floor. 

One of the band rushed straight at Odysseus with his sword in 
hand. But Telemachus was at hand, and he drove his spear 
through this man's shoulders. Then Telemachus ran quickly 
to a chamber where there were weapons and armour lying. The 
swineherd and the cattleherd joined him, and all three put 
armour upon them. Odysseus, as long as he had arrows to 
defend himself, kept shooting at and smiting the wooers. When 
all the arrows were gone, he put the helmet on his head and 
took up the shield that Telemachus had brought, and the two 
great spears. 

But now Melanthius, the goatherd — he who was the enemy 
of Odysseus, got into the chamber where the arms were kept, and 
brought out spears and shields and helmets, and gave them to 
the wooers. Seeing the goatherd go back for more arms, Telem- 
achus and Eumaeus dashed into the chamber, and caught him 
and bound him with a rope, and dragged him up near the roof- 


beams, and left him hanging there. Then they closed and bolted 
the door, and stood on guard. 

Many of the wooers lay dead upon the floor of the hall. Now 
one who was called Agelaus stood forward, and directed the 
wooers to cast spears at Odysseus. But not one of the spears 
they cast struck him, for Odysseus was able to avoid them all. 

And now he directed Telemachus and Eumaeus and Philoetius 
to cast their spears. When they cast them with Odysseus, each 
one struck a man, and four of the wooers fell down. And again 
Odysseus directed his following to cast their spears, and again 
they cast them, and slew their men. They drove those who 
remained from one end of the hall to the other, and slew 
them all. 

Straightway the doors of the women's apartment were flung 
open, and Eurycleia appeared. She saw Odysseus amongst the 
bodies of the dead, all stained with blood. She would have 
cried out in triumph if Odysseus had not restrained her. 'Re- 
joice within thine own heart,' he said, 'but do not cry aloud, 
for it is an unholy thing to triumph over men l3ang dead. These 
men the gods themselves have overcome, because of their own 
hard and unjust hearts.' 

As he spoke the women came out of their chambers, carrying 
torches in their hands. They fell upon Odysseus and embraced 
him and clasped and kissed his hands. A longing came over him 
to weep, for he remembered them from of old — every one of the 
servants who were there. 





URYCLEIA, the old nurse, went to the 
upper chamber where Penelope lay in her 
bed. She bent over her and called out, 
'Awake, Penelope, dear child. Come down 
and see with thine own eyes what hath 
happened. The wooers are overthrown. 
And he whom thou hast ever longed to 
see hath come back. Odysseus, thy husband, hath returned. 
He hath slain the proud wooers who have troubled thee for so 

But Penelope only looked at the nurse, for she thought that 
her brain had been turned. 

Still Eurycleia kept on saying, 'In very deed Odysseus is here. 
He is that guest whom all the wooers dishonour in the hall.' 

Then hearing Eurycleia say these words, Penelope sprang out 
of bed and put her arms round the nurse's neck. 'O tell me — 
if what thou dost say be true — tell me how this stranger slew 
the wooers, who were so many.' 

'I did not see the slaying,' Eurycleia said, 'but I heard 
the groaning of the men as they were slain. And then I 
found Odysseus standing amongst many dead men, and it com- 
forted my heart to see him standing there like a lion aroused. 
Come with me now, lady, that you may both enter into your 
heart's delight — you that have suffered so much of afHiction. 


Thy lord hath come alive to his own hearth, and he hath found 
his wife and his son ahve and well.' 

'Ah no !' said Penelope, 'ah no, Odysseus hath not returned. 
He who hath slain the wooers is one of the deathless gods, come 
down to punish them for their injustice and their hardhearted- 
ness. Odysseus long ago lost the way of his returning, and he is 
lying dead in some far-off land.' 

'No, no,' said Eurycleia. 'I can show thee that it is Odysseus 
indeed who is in the hall. On his foot is the scar that the tusk 
of a boar gave him in the old days. I spied it when I was washing 
his feet last night, and I would have told thee of it, but he clapped 
a hand across my mouth to stop my speech. Lo, I stake my life 
that it is Odysseus, and none other who is in the hall below.' 

Saying this she took Penelope by the hand and led her from the 
upper chamber into the hall. Odysseus was standing by a tall 
pillar. He waited there for his wife to come and speak to him. 
But Penelope stood still, and gazed long upon him, and made no 
step towards him. 

Then said Telemachus, 'Mother, can it be that thy heart is 
so hard ? Here is my father, and thou wilt not go to him nor 
question him at all.' 

Said Penelope, 'My mind is amazed and I have no strength 
to speak, nor to ask him aught, nor even to look on him face to 
face. If this is indeed Odysseus who hath come home, a place 
has to be prepared for him.' 

Then Odysseus spoke to Telemachus and said, 'Go now to 


the bath, and make thyself clean of the stains of battle. I wil^ 
stay and speak with thy lady mother.' 

'Strange lady,' said he to Penelope, 'is thy heart indeed so 
hard? No other woman in the world, I think, would stand so 
aloof from her husband who, after so much toil and so many 
trials, has come back after twenty years to his own hearth. Is 
there no place for me here, and must I again sleep in the stranger's 

Said Penelope, 'In no stranger's bed wilt thou lie, my lord. 
Come, Eurycleia. Set up for him his own bedstead outside his 

Then Odysseus said to her, speaking in anger: 'How comes 
it that my bed can be moved to this place and that ? Not a bed 
of that kind was the bed I built for myself. Knowest thou not 
how I built my bed ? First, there grew up in the courtyard an 
ohve tree. Round that olive tree I built a chamber, and I roofed 
it well and I set doors to it. Then I sheared off all the light 
wood on the growing olive tree, and I rough-hewed the trunk with 
the adze, and I made the tree into a bed post. Beginning with 
this bed post I wrought a bedstead, and when I finished it, I 
inlaid it with silver and ivory. Such was the bed I built for 
myself, and such a bed could not be moved to this place or that.' 

Then did Penelope know assuredly that the man who stood De- 
fore her was indeed her husband, the steadfast Odysseus — none 
other knew of where the bed was placed, and how it had been built, 
Penelope fell a-weeping and she put her arms round his neck. 



*0 Odysseus, my lord/ she said, 'be not angry with thy wife. 
Always the fear was in my heart that some guileful stranger 
should come here professing to be Odysseus, and that I should 
take him to me as my husband. How terrible such a thing would 
be ! But now my heart is freed from all doubts. Be not angry 
with me, Odysseus, for not throwing myself on thy neck, as the 
women of the house did.' 

Then husband and wife wept together, and Penelope said, 
*It was the gods did this to us, Odysseus — the gods who 
grudged that we should have joy of the days of our youth.' 

Next they told each other of things that happened in the 
twenty years they were apart; Odysseus speaking of his own 
toils and sorrows, and Penelope telhng what she had endured at 
the hands of the wooers. And as they told tales, one to the other, 
slumber came upon them, and the dawn found them sleeping side 
by side. 


ND still many dangers had to be faced. 
The wooers whom Odysseus had slain 
were the richest and the most powerful of 
the lords of Ithaka and the Islands ; all 
of them had fathers and brothers who 
would fain avenge them upon their slayer. 
Now before anyone in the City knew 
that he had returned, Odysseus went forth to the farm that 


Laertes, his old father, stayed at. As he drew near he saw an 
old man working in the vineyard, digging round a plant. When 
he came to him he saw that this old man was not a slave nor a 
servant, but Laertes, his own father. 

When he saw him, wasted with age and all uncared for, Odysseus 
stood still, leaning his hand against a pear tree and sorrowing 
in his heart. Old Laertes kept his head down as he stood digging 
at the plant, and he did not see Odysseus until he stood before 
him and said : 

'Old man, thou dost care for this garden well and all things 
here are flourishing — ^fig tree, and vine, and olive, and pear. 
But, if a stranger may say it, thine own self is not cared for well.' 

'Who art thou that dost speak to me like this?' old Laertes 
said, lifting his head. 

'I am a stranger in Ithaka,' said Odysseus. 'I seek a man 
whom I once kindly treated — a man whose name was Odysseus. 
A stranger, he came to me, and he declared that he was of Ithaka, 
and that one day he would give me entertainment for the enter- 
tainment I had given him. I know not if this man be still ahve.' 

Old Laertes wept before Odysseus. 'Ah,' said he, 'if thou 
hadst been able to find him here, the gifts you gave him would 
not have been bestowed in vain. True hospitality thou wouldst 
have received from Odysseus, my son. But he has perished — 
far from his country's soil he has perished, the hapless man, and 
his mother wept not over him, nor his wife, nor me, his father. ' 

So he spake and then with his hands he took up the dust of the 


ground, and he strewed it over his head in his sorrow. The 
heart of Odysseus was moved with grief. He sprang forward 
and fell on his father's neck and he kissed him, saying : 

'Behold I am here, even I, my father. I, Odysseus, have 
come back to mine own country. Cease thy lamentation unti] 
I tell thee of the things that have happened. I have slain the 
wooers in mine hall, and I have avenged all their injuries and all 
their wrongful doings. Dost thou not beheve this, my father? 
Then look on what I will show thee. Behold on my foot the 
mark of the boar's tusk — there it is from the days of my 

Laertes looked down on the bare foot, and he saw the scar, but 
still his mind was clouded by doubt. But then Odysseus took 
him through the garden, and he told him of the fruit trees that 
Laertes had set for him when he, Odysseus, was a Httle child, 
following his father about the garden — thirteen pear trees, and 
ten apple trees, and forty fig trees. 

When Odysseus showed him these Laertes knew that it was 
his son indeed who stood before him — his son come back after 
twenty years' wandering. He cast his arms around his neck, 
and Odysseus caught him fainting to his breast, and led him into 
the house. 

Within the house were Telemachus, and Eumasus the swine- 
herd and Philoetius the cattleherd. They all clasped the hand 
of Laertes and their words raised his spirits. Then he was 
bathed, and, when he came from the bath, rubbed with olive oil 



he looked hale and strong. Odysseus said to him, 'Father, 
surely one of the gods has made thee goodlier and greater than 
thou wert a while ago.' 

Said the old hero Laertes : 'Ah, my son, would that I had such 
might as when, long before thou wert born, I took the Castle of 
Nericus there upon the Foreland. Would that in such might, 
and with such mail upon my shoulders, I stood with thee yester- 
day when thou didst fight with the wooers.' 

■ W /l^^^ they were speaking in this way the 
m M / ''^^^^^^ of the slaying of the wooers went 
Sm/W through the City. Then those who were 
A» ^ related to the men slain went into the 
courtyard of Odysseus' house, and brought 
forth the bodies. Those who belonged to 
Ithaka they buried, and those who be- 
longed to the Islands they put upon ships, and sent them with 
fisherfolk, each to his own home. Many were wroth with 
Odysseus for the slaying of a friend. He who was the most 
wroth was Eupeithes, the father of Antinous. 

There was an assembly of the men of the country, and Eupeithes 
spake in it, and all who were there pitied him. He told how 
Odysseus had led away the best of the men of Ithaka, and how 
he had lost them in his ships. And he told them how, when he 
returned, he slew the noblest of the men of Ithaka and the Islands 
in his own hall. He called upon them to slay Odysseus saying, 
*If we avenge not ourselves on the slayer of our kin we wiU be 


scorned for all time as weak and cowardly men. As for me, life 
will be no more sweet to me. I would rather die straightway 
and be with the departed. Up now, and let us attack Odysseus 
and his followers before they take ship and escape across the sea.' 

Many in that assembly put on their armour and went out with 
old Eupeithes. And as they went through the town they met 
with Odysseus and his following as they were coming from the 
house of Laertes. 

Now as the two bands came close to each other — Odysseus 
with Telemachus and Laertes; with the swineherd and the 
cattleherd; with Dolius, Laertes' servant, and with the six sons 
of Dolius — and Eupeithes with his friends — a great figure 
came between. It was the figure of a tall, fair and splendid 
woman. Odysseus knew her for the goddess Pallas Athene. 

'Hold your hands from fierce fighting, ye men of Ithaka,' 
the goddess called out in a terrible voice. 'Hold your hands.' 
Straightway the arms fell from each man's hands. Then the 
goddess called them together, and she made them enter into a 
covenant that all bloodshed and wrong would be forgotten, and 
that Odysseus would be left to rule Ithaka as a King, in peace. 

So ends the story of Odysseus who went with King Agamemnon 
to the wars of Troy ; who made the plan of the Wooden Horse 
by which Priam's City was taken at last ; who missed the way 
of his return, and came to the Land of the Lotus-eaters ; who 
came to the Country of the dread Cyclopes, to the Island of 
^olus and to the house of Circe, the Enchantress; who heard 


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the song of the Sirens, and came to the Rocks Wandering, and 
to the terrible Charybdis, and to Scylla, past whom no other 
man had won scatheless ; who landed on the Island where the 
Cattle of the Sun grazed, and who stayed upon Ogygia, the home 
of the nymph Calypso ; so ends the story of Odysseus, who would 
have been made deathless and ageless by Cal3^so if he had not 
yearned always to come back to his own hearth and his own 
land. And spite of all his troubles and his toils he was for- 
tunate, for he found a constant wife and a dutiful son and a 
father still alive to weep over him. 


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